Power of Attorney vs Living Will: What’s the Difference?

August 9, 2020

During these difficult times we’re all experiencing, HereToday has received several questions from the community about medical directives and legal preparation guidance. As such, we’ve prepared a simple overview of the differences between a power of attorney and a living will (advance directive). HereToday is not a legal service, please seek professional advice when making any decision about your medical and legal documents. 

Medical and technological advances have improved our quality of life and increased life expectancies; in doing so, these advancements give us more time to spend with our loved ones. Let’s use this time to prepare our families for the inevitable end of life issues that will arise. A well-prepared power of attorney or living will can provide guidance to your loved ones should you need their care. Below is a brief examination of the differences between these documents.

Power of Attorney

Let’s start by exploring the power of attorney (POA) option. A POA is a legal document that gives one person, an agent or an attorney-of-fact, authorization to act on your behalf when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. A designated agent will have clearly defined authority to make legal decisions about your medical care, property, or finances, among other items. The POA is often used in the event of an illness or disability, or when you can’t be present to sign a legal document.

A Living Will / Power of Attorney section is available in your Vault’s Legal folder. Upload your POA into this folder for safekeeping and easy access by your agent.  

Living Will

A living will is an instruction guide requested prior to care procedures. This legal instrument is often referred to as an advance medical directive. Should you become incapacitated, or unable to direct your own medical care preference, a hospital or a care unit’s medical staff will follow these instructions. A common use case of a living will is providing instructions on the use of life support. This directive will let loved ones know your wishes if you’re no longer able to express them on your own.

Your account contains a Living Will / Power of Attorney section within the Vault’s Legal folder. Simply upload the legal documents for safekeeping and easy access by your executor and family members.  

Which document is best for you?

Your decision about which document to use depends on what you want to accomplish. A power of attorney could be used for a variety of different purposes, such as empowering your agent to make financial decisions, control financial assets, or buy and sell property during a period of incapacity. A living will solely directs your level of care wishes to your medical team. There are several quality resources that can help prepare a Living Will or Power of Attorney, including Nolo, LegalZoom, RocketLawyer, and LegalShield and more.

HereToday helps family members access important digital records, accounts, and memories when someone becomes incapacitated or passes away. Prepare your family and loved ones for when the occasion arrives. 


Disclaimer. HereToday is not a legal service. This content should not be taken as legal advice. Before drafting any legal document, please consult an attorney.

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