The Difference Between a POA, Durable POA and Living Will


Planning for the future from a legal and financial perspective can be confusing and overwhelming. There are many documents that should be put in place, but sometimes caregivers and their elderly parents don't understand the terms that are used, or what each document is for.

Definitions of the different types of legal documents

Living Will

Describes and instructs how the person wants end-of-life health care managed. A living will is one type of advance directive. It takes effect when the patient is terminally ill.

Advance Directives

Written instructions about future medical care should your parent become unable to make decisions (for example, unconscious or too ill to communicate). These are also called healthcare directives.

Durable Power of Attorney

POA for healthcare
Gives a designated person the authority to make health care decisions on behalf of the person.

POA for finances
Gives a designated person the authority to make legal/financial decisions on behalf of the person.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Form

Instructs health care professionals not to perform CPR in case of stopped heart or stopped breathing.


Indicates how a person's assets and estate will be distributed among beneficiaries after his/her death.

Living Trust

Gives a designated person (trustee) the authority to hold and distribute property and funds.

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Until he can be declared incompetent to handle his business in a business like manner and you or someone and thus go to court to get guardianship over him, you will have to wait. He sounds like a very mean man. I don't think you would want him living with you.
My experience was very similar and I believe the root of the problem was when just
one person is named as the POA. I highly recommend co-POA's.
When problems arise, even is there is only 1 POA, the family might consider mediation or hiring a reputable elder-account who can give advice for all. Neither
of these options is cheap but we followed this route after a very difficult time of sibling in-fighting and it has made a great difference.
It is important to remember that family law varies per state so it is critical to inform yourself of the law regarding POA/will/etc. in your own state. All of this is available online or at the local library. Make copies of all that is helpful!
jennyguthary, do you have durable POA? Even if you do not these checks were not signed by him must be looked into by the police.

sammie, it is very nice of you to take care of your ex. From my own experience with my mother and step-dad, I think his daughter should know. My mother gave me durable and medical POA over her and wrote up a living will back in 2002 without telling my step-dad. I've had to use the POA since 2009 and my step-dad does not like me since he was not told. Good luck.