Your Living Will is your set of written instructions about the type of health care treatment you want when you are unable to communicate your wishes. Your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare allows you to choose a person to make your health care treatment decisions for you when you are unable to do so yourself.
Many people will want to have both documents because they can address different aspects of your medical care. A Living Will gives your instructions directly to your doctors and a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare appoints another person you have chosen to make health care treatment decisions for you.
It becomes effective only when you are permanently unconscious or terminally ill and unable to communicate. It spells out to what extent you want life-support technology used to prolong your life. It gives your caregivers the authority to follow your instructions regarding the medical treatment you want under these conditions.