An advance healthcare directive, or living will, is a written legal document containing preferences for medical care in case of illness, accident or advanced age.
By planning ahead, you will get the medical care you want at the end of your life, should you be unable to communicate your preferences. Putting your wishes in writing reduces confusion or disagreement about your choices.
A living will details end-of-life wishes, but it doesn’t cover all of the medical decisions that must be made on a daily basis. A power of attorney (POA) for healthcare is a type of advance directive in which you name another person to make all healthcare decisions for you in an emergency or when you are unable to do so.
Keep in mind that the power of attorney for healthcare cannot revoke or contradict the details outlined in the living will. Also, you can complete a Power of Attorney for Health Care form without a lawyer or a notary; neither is required. Having both a living will and a healthcare POA is recommended.