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If your’re not familiar with estate planning, navigating the complicated waters of legal paperwork can be overwhelming. What’s a Living WIll? What’s the difference between a Health Care Power of Attorney and a standard Power of Attorney? What goes in an Advance Medical Directive? Don’t worry; it’s not as complicated as it might seem.

Living Will

This document sets forth your wishes for medical treatment in advance, so that if you’re ever in an accident and cannot convey your wishes to a doctor, the document speaks for you.  Many clients prefer not to be kept alive indefinitely via artificial means – if that’s true for you too, this is the document to make that clear.

Health Care Power of Attorney

As opposed to the Living Will, the HCPOA does not state your wishes regarding medical treatment, but rather appoints a representative to carry out your decisions or, failing that, to make decisions for you.  Under the HCPOA, the representative speaks for you.  To break it down and help you remember the difference: “Attorney” is synonymous with “representative.”  “Power of Attorney” means you are giving someone the power to represent you.  “Health Care Power of Attorney” means you are giving someone the power to represent you regarding health care.

Advance Medical Directive

In a rare and fleeting moment of efficiency, lawyers got together and decided to combine the Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney into one super-doc: the Advance Medical Directive.  This both states your intentions for medical treatment and appoints a representative to make decisions for you.

At first blush, it seems this might create confusion: how can both the document AND a representative make decisions for me?  Simple: the AMD sets up a hierarchy of decision-making.  First, a doctor will be guided by what your AMD says.  If anything about your medical situation is unclear or requires further analysis (which is almost bound to be the case), your representative steps up and relays your decisions.  For a breakdown of how your representative is guided in operating under your AMD, check back with the Asurest blog for more info. 

To summarize, if you’ve got the Advanced Medical Directive ( AMD ), you’re covered.  If you only have a Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney ( HCPOA ), strongly consider adding an AMD to cover all your bases.

Ready to get your Advanced Medical Directive, Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney and Will all at a simple, affordable package rate? Just have some questions? Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon!

 

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This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Responses to inquiries, whether by email, telephone, or other means, do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create or imply the existence of an attorney-client relationship.

Disclaimer: This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Responses to inquiries, whether by email, telephone, or other means, do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create or imply the existence of an attorney-client relationship.