Patient & Visitor InformationContact Us
  • Comparing Legal Options

  • Some differences between a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:

    Durable Power of Attorney
    For Health Care
    Living Will
    You choose someone you trust to make health care decisions if you ever become unable.Spells out, in writing, under what circumstances you want medical care withdrawn or withheld
    You may include guidelines and limitations you wish your agent to follow as well as circumstances you want medical care withheld or withdrawn.You spell out in writing under what circumstances you want medical care withheld or withdrawn.
    It includes all health care decisions, including requesting or refusing treatment or care.It refers only to withholding or withdrawing care.
    It applies to any kind of illness or injury that incapacitates you and leaves you unable to speak for yourself.It applies only when your physician determines that you are in a terminal condition and are unable to speak for yourself.
    It can be flexible to changing circumstances.It is static and may not cover every possible medical situation.
    You must use the required form.You are not required to use a specific form.
    It is easily revoked, orally or in writing.Same.
    You must be at least 18 years old and competent at the time of execution.Same.
    It must be signed and witnessed by two qualified witnesses neither of whom can be the agent or employed by the health care facility. One must be unrelated to the person and not a beneficiary or heir of the estate.It must be signed and witnessed by two unrelated persons.
    It has no exceptions for pregnant patients unless agent is instructed otherwise.It is not enforceable for pregnant patients if live birth is probable with continued life-sustaining procedures.
    It has no enforcement provision.It requires a physician to transfer a patient if she/he cannot comply with the living will.
    It has no enforcement provision.It creates a civil cause of action for physicians who fail to follow the living will or refuse to transfer the patient.
    It has no enforcement provision.It creates immunity from liability for acting contrary to a revocation in the absence of actual notice of the revocation.
    It has no enforcement provision.It imposes a fine or imprisonment for forging, falsifying or concealing living will or its revocation.
    It does not address inconsistencies.It deals with conflicts and inconsistencies between two advance directives by appealing to the later executed document.
    It does not address this issue.It does not apply to a medical emergency.
    It does not recognize another state's Durable Power (Proxy).It recognizes declarations legally valid in other states.
    More about Durable Power of Attorney for Health CareMore about Living Will