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At some point, perhaps toward the end of your life, you may need help taking care of your finances, making medical decisions or communicating your wishes to your physicians and family. A living will, power of attorney for health care or power of attorney for finances can direct your health care or give others authority to act on your behalf.
A living will is a document that provides direction to your loved ones, family members and physicians regarding your preferences for end-of-life care should you become incapacitated, though it does not appoint anyone to make your health care decisions. Your living will can specifically address medical possibilities such as whether you want artificial respiration, nutrition or hydration withheld, as well as what types of pain medications to allow and whether you prefer to live your last days at home or in the hospital. If you become incapacitated, your physicians and loved ones will look to your living will for guidance.
A living will differs from a durable power of attorney for health care because a living will delineates your wishes specifically, whereas a power of attorney for health care allows someone else — your agent — to make your health care decisions for you. Your health care agent must act consistently with your wishes, if he knows what your wishes are. If not, he must act in your best interests. Like a living will, a durable power of attorney for health care remains valid even if you become incapacitated.
Suddarth and Koor, LLC can provide professional legal advise with creating both a Living will and Power of Attorney.
The person who is named by the Durable Power of Attorney can also called the agent, healthcare proxy, or attorney-in-fact.
A will is a document that dictates who will receive your property in the case of your death and also designates a legal representative to carry out your wishes. A will only covers property that is in your name when you pass, excluding property in a trust or other tenancy. The administration of a will is overseen by a court. In a will, you may name a guardian for children and specify funeral arrangements or express any other wishes that you chose.
What is the difference between a will and a trust? To start, a will passes outside of probate and is not generally overseen by a court. This can save time and money. Unlike a will that goes into effect after death, a trust can distribute property before death, at death, or after.
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