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Deciding who should make medical and financial decisions on your behalf when you become unable to do so, and providing those individuals with the type of information that they need to best make those decisions, can be some of the most important steps you can ever take to make sure that you are properly cared for when you cannot care for yourself. And taking those steps are relatively simple and affordable with the right legal guidance.

But many people are confused by the various terms they hear – powers of attorney, durable powers of attorney, living wills, advanced health care directives, and so on – and they may not take action to protect their interests until it’s too late because they are just not sure what they need. Here, we provide a brief description of what these various legal tools are and how then can help you.

What is a Living Will?

When you hear the word “will” in the context of the law, you probably think of a will that distributes your assets upon your passing, but a living will is something entirely different. A living will is a legal document by which you specifically list out the types of treatments and/or medical procedures you would like done or not done should you become incapacitated. For example, many people do not want certain types of life-prolonging procedures (such as a respirator) used in a catastrophic situation, whereas others do.

Living wills are also sometimes referred to as Advanced Healthcare Directives, and they essentially serve the same function. In both, you can list out your preferences for the following types of procedures/treatments:

  • Surgery
  • Consent to use of certain drugs
  • Use of respirators and ventilators
  • Use of tube feeding
  • Palliative care (pain management)
  • Organ, tissue, and body donation

How is a Power of Attorney Different?

You can think of a living will or advanced healthcare directive as describing what type of medical care you will receive should you become incapacitated, while a power of attorney describes who should carry out those decisions on your behalf. The person you name in your power of attorney will have the power to make decisions regarding your medical treatment and in any other area you specify in the document, including the power to make decisions regarding your finances.

A power of attorney is often for a limited period of time only, but a durable power of attorney gives your designated representative ongoing decisionmaking power. A living will and power of attorney work together by granting the individual with the power of attorney the ability to make decisions in line with the instructions set out in the living will.

Creating a Living Will or Power of Attorney

At The Law Store, our attorneys will work with you to create a living will, advanced healthcare directive and/or power of attorney that best serves your goals and interests. We offer flat-free pricing and convenient hours so that you can plan for your future on a timetable and in a setting that is convenient for you. By purchasing our Power of Attorney Bundle, you can save money and cover your most basic needs with a will, a power of attorney, a living will/health care directive, and up to 3 beneficiary deeds — a $354 value for only $249.

Whatever your wishes are, The Law Store will help you determine the right options for your particular situation. Our Free First AdviceTM program allows you to meet with one of our attorneys free of charge to discuss how best to accomplish your estate planning goals. Book an appointment today by dropping by The Law Store, calling us, or scheduling a service online.