Living Will versus Health Proxy - What are the Differences - Overview
By by Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD
- Living Will and Health Proxy.
- What is the difference between them.
- Living will is a statement of health care wishes.
- A health proxy is a legal document in which you designate a person, called agent, to handle health care decisions for you.
- Why you need both.
- Living will is not legally recognized in all states.
- Health proxy should focus on powers given to your agent, not the details of your personal wishes,
- You need both so that both personal wishes are made known and someone has the authority to act. Just naming an agent is not enough.
- Issues to consider:
- Who to name.
- Never name joint agents.
- Will the agent really be able to make the tough decisions?
- Will the agent respect your wishes?
- Address funeral and burial decisions.
- Describe personal wishes – whatever they are.