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What is the role of a power of attorney regarding a living will?

We never know when a sickness or accident may strike. That’s life. That is why having a living will is so important. The purpose of a living will is to provide instructions to medical professionals and your family and loved ones on how to proceed in the event of an illness or injury that prevents you from making decisions regarding your health.

If you are happy and healthy today, the last thing on your mind is the thought of you in a hospital or nursing home unable to take care of yourself. But, accidents and sicknesses happen, often without warning.

How your living will is constructed is entirely up to you. It can be specific, with instruction on how to act in specific circumstances in the event that you are unable to express your wishes. Or, it could be vague, with general guidelines. It is not uncommon while constructing a living will to also designate a power of attorney.

The role of a power of attorney is to make decisions regarding your health on your behalf. The person typically is a family member or loved one you completely trust, quite literally, with your life. The power of attorney, in conjunction with your living will, will provide medical professionals with instruction on how to proceed with your health and wellbeing in the event you are unable to do so. A living will can give you peace of mind knowing that your wishes are documented and that you have a trusted person to make your decisions for you.

Source:, “The Power of Attorney, Living Will and Your Healthcare,” Accessed Dec. 6, 2016

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