Living Will vs Power of Attorney
Naming your health care representative will be a critical piece of your living will or health care directive. Unfortunately, conflicts arise when a health care representative refuses to carry out the directives stated in the patient’s living will. Although the living will technically takes precedence over the word of a health care representative, these representatives have power of attorney and, in some jurisdictions, can revoke the original living will
In these circumstances, the cases will frequently go to court soaking up the time and energy of the family members left to discern the right choice. There is a simple, but difficult, solution to avoiding these kinds of conflicts. Talk to your family.
After you and your estate lawyer write your living will, sit down and discuss your decisions with your family. You may quickly discover that the person you’ve named as your health care representative will be unwilling to make these end-of-life decisions on your behalf. In addition, by clarifying these choices as your own, you reduce the likelihood of family members battling over options if you are incapacitated.
As medical treatments increase in their capacity to keep us alive, they also increase the chance of conflict over what are the right decisions for your end-of-life care. Take the time to carefully craft an effective health care directive and you will ease the burden on your family when you can’t speak on your own behalf.