Estate planning and funeral pre-planning are two essential processes that everyone should consider. Planning your funeral, of course, is done with the help of a funeral director at a mortuary. Estate planning is typically done with the help of an attorney. In this blog, we are going to address two very important documents in the estate planning process.
These two documents are a Living Will and a Durable Healthcare (or Medical) Power of Attorney. Understanding how these two documents differ can help you know which you need to have in place as part of your estate planning process. While both documents allow others to make medical decisions on your behalf, when and to what extent they can do so is tightly controlled by these two documents. You must be over the age of 18 and of sound mind in order to sign either document.
Differences Between the Two
A Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA) is a document with a relatively broad authority, granting your agent the ability to make any health care decisions on your behalf for as long as the document is in force. While you can set out specific information about end of life preferences, this is not required.
A Living Will provides an agent only for decisions to be made on your deathbed; when you are unable to make these decisions yourself due to terminal illness or brain death. These powers are generally limited to when to stop heroic life-saving efforts when there is no hope of recovery.
Do You Need Both Documents?
Technically, you do not need either document–but you may choose to have either document or both documents. A Healthcare POA may be used to detail specific needs such as a request to limit blood transfusions, while a Living Will can take over where the POA leaves off. While the documents are good to have, it is important that you sit down with your agent if possible and talk through the different scenarios to ensure that your expectations are clear.
Comprehensive estate planning is always recommended. When you choose Mountain View Funeral Home as your mortuary, we are happy to work with you to recommend some items that you may not have considered; suggestions that may help you clarify any requests to your loved ones.
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