Similar in concept, the Advance Medical Directive, Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney are different names for documents that achieve two main objectives. First, they state your wishes in advance regarding medical care, so if you are ever unable to communicate your intentions are clear. In an emergency, family members might not know what medical treatment you’d want and could disagree over options. The clarity provided by a Living Will or Advance Medical Directive reduces the chance of conflict in an already tense and stressful situation.
Second, the Healthcare Power of Attorney (sometimes abbreviated HPOA or HCPOA) and Advance Medical Directive appoint an agent to make decisions on your behalf. No document can fully encapsulate every potential situation in which you may find yourself. Appointing an agent, who has your best wishes at heart, is a flexible approach to protecting yourself and ensuring a course of treatment most in line with your values.
Although all three terms are sometimes used interchangeably, the subtle difference in terminology is that a Living Will states your wishes for medical care and treatment in advance. This document typically doesn’t become effective until you are unable to communicate your wishes. The Healthcare Power of Attorney appoints an agent to make decisions on your behalf and may take effect right away. An Advance Medical Directive does both.
When selecting an agent, trust is the most important consideration. This person may be called upon to make important life or death decisions on your behalf. You’ll want a representative who not only knows your wishes and values but is capable of acting on them if the situation arises. For more information about Advance Medical Directives, Living Wills or Healthcare Powers of Attorney, or on selecting agents, contact Asurest to set up a time to discuss
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