Powers of Attorney & Living Wills


What is a Power of Attorney (POA)?

A POA is a leagal paper that gives someone else the right to act on your behalf. You can make a POA if you want to give someone you trust the ability to make choices about your money and your health care on your behalf. You might choose to make a POA in case you become sick or have memory problems and are not able to manage these things yourself.


What is a Living Will?

A living will is a paper that you write to tell others what you want to happen if you get sick and can't share your wishes about treatment. People often write a living will to state that they don't want to be kept alive on life support if there is no hope that they will get better.

The Difference Between a POA, a Living Will and an Advance Care Plan

POAs, living wills, and advance care plans are alike, but there are some differences:

  • A POA is a legal paper that names a specific person to act on your behalf.
  • A living will is a paper that states your treatment and personal care wished, but does not name a specific person to be in charge of these wishes. It is NOT a legal document.
  • An advance care plan can be written or spoken, and more broadly guides others about the kind of care you might want at the end of life. Others have an easier time making choices about your health care (in the event that you can't) because they know what matters to you.

Here are some resources to help you make a POA: