Q.How is a living will different from a durable power of attorney for health care?
A.Although there can be some overlap, a living will focuses on life-sustaining treatments, while a durable power focuses on who makes a decision regarding treatment in the event of a temporary disability in which you are incapable of communicating your desires.
A "living will" is a legal document that instructs doctors, health care providers, and family about whether or not to provide life-sustaining medical treatment, and if so to what extent, in the event you become terminally ill or in a persistent vegetative state and are unable to communicate your own wishes at the time. In other words, a Living Will primarily addresses death-bed considerations.
A “durable power of attorney for heath care,” on the other hand, is a legal document in which you appoint a person (known as your "attorney-in-fact" or "agent") to make health care decisions on your behalf if you become temporarily unable to communicate your wishes. The durable power of attorney for health care will only become affective if the treating physician determines you are incapable of understanding your situation or communicating your desires.