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Spokane Estate & Probate Lawyers / Blog / Living Wills Advance Directives / What is the Difference Between a Living Will and Power of Attorney?

What is the Difference Between a Living Will and Power of Attorney?


Estate planning involves the execution of a number of different types of documents and other tasks that all work towards the same goal – to organize your estate for the future. The estate planning tools you use will depend on your own specific situation. However, most people should make their medical wishes known and give someone the authority to make healthcare, financial, and other decisions on their behalf.

Two important documents that can help you do this are a living will and a power of attorney. Many people think these documents fulfill the same purpose, but that is not true. Below, our Spokane living wills and advance directives lawyer explains further.

What is a Living Will? 

A living will is a legal document that is written so you can inform loved ones of the specific types of medical treatments you do and do not want in the future. Living wills are also known as advanced directives and they are used to outline your wishes for end-of-life medical care. You can also use a living will to outline organ donation wishes, pain management, and more. Other directives you can leave in your living will include:

  • Resuscitation
  • Comfort care
  • Tube feeding
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Antivirals or antibiotics

What is a Power of Attorney?

 A Power of Attorney (POA) is also a legal document that gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf if you cannot make important decisions on your own. While a POA can make medical decisions on your behalf, they can also make financial, property, and business-related decisions on your behalf, unlike a living will. POAs can be limited in nature, such as giving authority for a specific time period or transaction, or they can be much broader.

Should You Draft a Living Will or a Power of Attorney? 

Without exception, every competent adult should have both a power of attorney and a living will. Both will work together to ensure your wishes are formally documented and that you have named someone to make decisions on your behalf. Without these, a Guardianship or Conservatorship will be necessary.

Call Our Living Wills and Advance Directives Lawyers in Spokane for Help with Your Estate Plan 

Living wills and powers of attorney are important parts of any estate plan, but you should never draft them on your own. At Moulton Law Offices, P.S., our Spokane living will and advance directives lawyers can ensure no mistakes are made and that your final wishes are clearly outlined so they are fulfilled. Call us now at 509-328-2150 or chat with us online to request a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys and to get the legal help you need.




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