Although a living will and a healthcare power of attorney are both health related documents associated with estate planning in North Carolina, they serve different functions. In many cases, it’s necessary to have both a living will and a healthcare power of attorney.
Similarities between a living will and healthcare power of attorney
Both of these documents allow you to designate a person who you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. In order for these documents to be valid, both require that you are at least 18 years old and currently sound of mind. Being sound of mind means that you are generating these documents of your own free will without being coerced by any other person.
Differences between a living will and healthcare power of attorney
The stipulation inside your living will regarding the appointment of another person is related strictly to deathbed concerns. At this point, the document is used to articulate your wishes with regard to life-prolonging measures that you wish to be taken in the event that you will not recover. For example, you can articulate your plans for continued care if you have a terminal illness or in the event you become brain-dead.
Your durable power of attorney for healthcare purposes, on the other hand, is applicable for all health care decisions. The durable power of attorney for healthcare is only active so long as you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Once you are no longer incapacitated, you retain the control over decisions about your life. Your durable healthcare power of attorney can be designed with exact instructions for your representative agent.
Do I need both a healthcare power of attorney and a living will?
Although every person should have a living will, it is likely that your living will can encompass the entire range of medical concerns you might face. For example, if you are afflicted with a particular condition and do not want to receive treatment (like dialysis), your durable healthcare power of attorney can give specific instructions to the person you have appointed.
Choosing an attorney for my living will and healthcare power of attorney
Selecting a lawyer to generate your healthcare power of attorney and living will is an important decision, since these will be the official legal documents articulating your wishes. Working with an experienced and qualified attorney is necessary.
Jonathan Meek has helped many individuals in this critical area of estate planning and he is ready to assist you as well. Contact Meek Law Firm today to discuss your options. Call (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule a consultation appointment.