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Living Wills and Health Care Proxies: What’s the Difference?

by | Apr 16, 2021 | Wills and Estates |

You need a Living Will and Health Care Proxy if you want to maintain some control over your health care even after you become incapable of making health care decisions for yourself.

A Living Will is a document in which you state your wishes regarding your health care; particularly your wishes regarding the withholding or withdrawing of treatment that prolongs the process of dying (in the event that you are suffering from certain terminal or permanent conditions, such as irreversible brain damage or permanent unconsciousness, for example).

A Health Care Proxy is a document in which you appoint an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event that you lose your capacity to make those decisions on your own. Your health care agent will have the authority to make decisions according to the wishes you expressed in your Living Will, and discuss the same with your healthcare providers. Unlike the Power of Attorney, which is immediately effective upon signing, your Health Care Proxy becomes effective only after a physician has determined that you have lost your capacity to make health care decisions for yourself.

Please see our previous posts on estate planning: Do I Need a Will? — Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

Please find our next post on estate planning here: Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains

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