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Should we have a living will or a POA?

Which carries more weight - a living will or medical power of attorney?
Status: Open    Sep 07, 2014 - 04:20 PM

Elder Law

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Mar 16, 2015 - 07:37 AM

It really depends upon your needs. Many people have both types of directives.

A living will is a document that provides instructions about medical care to be carried out if and when individuals are unable to express their wishes.

They may or may not include a DNR (do not resuscitate) or a DNI (do not intubate).

A DNR/DNI can be more legally binding than a living will.

There are different types of POAs. A durable medical power of attorney is a document that names a proxy to make health care decisions

if the individual becomes unable to make decisions.

A financial power of attorney names a proxy to make financial decisions.

It is important that people make copies of these documents available to their healthcare providers and facilities, so their wishes can be honored.

I used to work for a home health agency in an area where many winter visitors are found. Many of our visiting clients left their documents at home.

They were able to eventually make new copies of these documents or send for their copies at home, but that just added unnecessary stress and delay.



Sep 07, 2014 - 04:38 PM

In some states laws prefer one over the other, some states combine them into a single document or make it possible to have both documents. It is very important to discuss the pros & cons of these documents with an elder law attorney who specializes in your state.
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