Living Will or a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney: What Do I Need?

Most people recognize that their estate plan at a minimum must include a last will and testament but there are a few other documents that you should consider putting in place to ensure that your wishes are known and protected in the event this is needed. These documents are known as a living will and a durable health care power of attorney.

Both a living will and a durable health care power of attorney enable you to appoint someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf. Furthermore, for both of these documents you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind.

The differences between these two documents, however, is that a living relates specifically to deathbed concerns and is used to declare your desire to use or not use life prolonging measures if there is no hope of recovery. A durable healthcare power of attorney, however, addresses all different health care decisions that might need to be made in the event that you are incapable of making them.

This document will only last for the time period in which you are incapable of making these decisions for your health. It is possible and likely recommended to have both a living will and healthcare power of attorney drafted and available to your appointed agents.

You should always choose someone that you trust as your healthcare power of attorney agent because you want to have peace of mind that this person will make the decisions that you have articulated to them or in these documents. To learn more about creating your own power of attorney, schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Cass City, MI.      


Michelle P. Biddinger
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