Making decisions about our personal finances can be difficult, especially when we don't know what our options are.
In this article, we will compare Living Will Vs Power of Attorney and look into the advantages and disadvantages of each. This is an important decision, so it's crucial that you understand the differences between these two options before making a choice!
Living Will Vs Power of Attorney Table of Contents
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a legal document that outlines an individual's wishes regarding their medical care in the event that they are unable to communicate those wishes themselves.
It can cover everything from life-sustaining treatment to end-of-life care and can be used to appoint a healthcare proxy who will make decisions on the individual's behalf.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints someone to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. This person is known as your "attorney-in-fact" and can be a spouse, family member, friend, or professional.
What is The Difference Between a Living Will and a Power of Attorney?
A living will is a legal document that indicates your wishes regarding medical treatment in the event that you are unable to communicate those wishes yourself. A power of attorney, on the other hand, is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. With a living will, your wishes are clearly laid out and there is no question about what you would want in a medical emergency. However, a living will do not cover all possible scenarios and it can be difficult to anticipate everything that might happen.
A power of attorney gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf, but it also means that they will have to make those decisions in your best interests. This can be a difficult responsibility for someone to take on, and it is important to choose someone you trust implicitly.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to have a living will or a power of attorney is a personal one. There are pros and cons to each option, and it is important to weigh those carefully before making a decision.
What Are The Different Types of Living Will?
There are three types of living will:
Medical living will focus on your healthcare wishes and directives. This includes things like whether or not you want to be on life support, what kind of medical treatments you do or don’t want to receive, etc.
A financial living will appoint someone to handle your finances and property if you become incapacitated. This includes things like managing your bank accounts, paying your bills, and handling your investments.
Finally, personal living will cover any other wishes you have regarding your care and well-being. This could include things like who you want to be your primary caregiver, what kind of funeral arrangements you want, etc.
What Are The Different Types of Power of Attorney?
There are two different types of Power of Attorney:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Non-Durable Power of Attorney
Durable Power of Attorney
Durable Power of Attorney is used in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself.
Non-Durable Power of Attorney
Non-Durable Power of Attorney is used for more temporary situations, such as when you're out of town and need someone to handle your finances.
What Are The Advantages of a Living Will?
There are a few advantages of having a living will.
First, if you are ever in a position where you can no longer make decisions for yourself, your wishes will be carried out.
Second, it can help to ease the burden on your loved ones during what is already a difficult time. And finally, it can provide some peace of mind, knowing that you have taken care of everything in advance.
What Are The Advantages of a Power of Attorney?
There are several advantages of having a power of attorney.
One advantage is that you can choose the person who will make decisions on your behalf. This can be someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend.
Another advantage is that a power of attorney can help to avoid any potential conflicts between family members about who should make decisions on your behalf.
Additionally, a power of attorney can help to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions yourself.
What Are The Disadvantages of Living Will?
There are a number of disadvantages associated with living wills.
One of the main disadvantages is that they can be very difficult to create. In order to create a living will, you need to have a clear understanding of your medical situation and what you would want to happen in the event that you were unable to make decisions for yourself. This can be a difficult task, especially if you are not familiar with medical terminology.
Another disadvantage of living wills is that they can be challenging to enforce. If you have specific instructions in your living will, but your family does not agree with them, it can be difficult to get them to follow your wishes.
Additionally, if you become incapacitated and are unable to communicate your wishes to your family, they may not be aware of what you wanted and could make decisions that you would not have wanted.
Finally, living wills can be revoked at any time. If you change your mind about what you want to happen in the event of your incapacitation, you can simply revoke the living will. This can be a problem if you later become incapacitated and your family does not know that you have revoked the living will.
What Are The Disadvantages of Power of Attorney?
There are a few disadvantages of having the power of attorney that you should be aware of.
Firstly, if you become incapacitated, the person you have appointed as your attorney will have control over your finances and assets. This means they could make decisions that you may not agree with if you were able to make them yourself.
Secondly, if there is any disagreement between you and your attorney, it can be difficult to revoke their power of attorney.
Finally, if your attorney misuses their power or commits fraud, you may have to take legal action in order to recover any losses.
So, Which One Should You Use?
It really depends on your specific situation. If you want to have more control over your medical decisions and don't mind taking on the extra responsibility, then a living will is probably the better option for you.
On the other hand, if you would prefer someone else to handle things in the event that you become incapacitated, then a power of attorney would be the better choice.
Of course, there are also some disadvantages to both options. With a living will, you run the risk of your wishes not being followed if they are not clearly laid out in the document.
And with a power of attorney, there is always the possibility that your appointed agent could abuse their power or make decisions that you would not agree with.
What Are Some Alternatives to Using a Living Will or a Power of Attorney?
If you're not comfortable with the idea of using a living will or power of attorney, there are some other options to consider. One is to create what's called a health care proxy. This document allows you to appoint someone else to make decisions about your medical care if you're unable to do so yourself.
Another option is to create a durable power of attorney for health care. This document is similar to a regular power of attorney, but it specifically deals with your health care decisions.
You can also create what's known as an advance directive. This document allows you to state your preferences for medical treatment in the event that you're unable to communicate them yourself.
Finally, you can simply have a conversation with your loved ones about your wishes for medical treatment. This might not be a legally binding document, but it can be helpful in giving your loved ones an idea of what you would want if you were unable to make decisions yourself.
What Are Some Tips For Using a Living Will?
Some tips for using a living will include:
- Make sure your family and close friends know where to find it
- Reviewing and updating your living will regularly
- Choosing a health care proxy who you trust to make decisions on your behalf
- Talking to your health care proxy about your wishes in advance
- Make sure your living will is easily accessible in an emergency
What Are Some Tips For Using a Power of Attorney?
Some tips for using a power of attorney include:
- Choosing someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf
- Giving clear instructions to your agent about what you do and don't want them to do
- Make sure your agent is aware of your current financial situation
- Reviewing and updating your power of attorney regularly
- Keeping a copy of your power of attorney in a safe place