Many people are familiar with a Last Will and Testament and Powers of Attorney but a common area of confusion is understanding the differences between a Will and a Living Will. Put simply, a Last Will and Testament is a document which states how you intend to deal with your assets and property and outlines your wishes for the care and guardianship of any minor children after you pass away. In contrast, a Living Will is often a schedule to a Power of Attorney for Personal Care and states your personal wishes concerning medical treatments while you are still alive (but unable to express these wishes due to incapacity).
A Living Will gives guidance to the person you have appointed under Power of Attorney for Personal Care to assist the attorney in making care decisions and may outline your health care preferences while you are still living, but incapable of making those decisions. It will ensure your attorney in making these decisions is aware of what treatments you do or do not want. Some decisions that arise when crafting a Living Will include choosing whether or not you would like to be kept on life support if there is no hope of recovery and what level of care and support you would like to receive if you become unconscious or a severe accident occurs which may render you incapable of making such care decisions. A Living Will tends to be limited to medical wishes regarding a terminal illness, an injury, or permanent unconsciousness.