My 81-year-old mother doesn’t have a medical Power of Attorney but she does have a living will. Why is it so important to have a medical Power of Attorney?

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Maybe I could get it through to her why it is important if I had more information.

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If she has a living will she knows there may be medical choices to be made in the future and she wants some say in them, even if she isn't able at the time to express her wishes clearly. She wants done what is stated in that docment. Appointing someone medical POA is for the exact same thing. The written document only covers broad topics, and often there are nitty-gritty day-to-day decisions that must be made, with no specific instructions in the living will. She needs someone she trusts and who understands her beliefs and wishes to make those decisions on her behalf if she cannot.
jeannegibbs, thank you for your prompt response. As I understand it, the living will is for terminal situations. She doesn't want to be put on life support, etc. What I can't seem to get across to her and I am not even sure about myself, is what happens when she can not make medical decisions and she has no one to make decisions for her. I don't think the living will is broad enough for that. As of now, she just refuses to discuss it and my brother who is durable POA just seems oblivious of any need. I am interested in knowing what road blocks not having a medical directive for the small stuff, like doctor's appointments, etc. can cause.
Where does your Mom live now? If you are caring for her you should have both POAs. If you are the one who will ultimately have to make these decisions and your bro has "checked out" you really should make the switch.
POAs are not necessary for day-to-day doctor's visits and medical decisions. It is really only there to help direct the doctor at the end of life.
When you take your Mom to the doc, she can sign a paper that allows you to call and ask questions or receive medical records.
So two things need to happen: the person who is caring for her needs the POAs and she needs to make her wishes known to you.
good luck
Thank you lilliput, this really answers some of my biggest questions. My brother has POAs, everything. They both live in Alabama and I live in Florida, however, I am her only daughter and he is not very attentive. She needs only minimal care "today" but at 81, well you now how it is. He does nothing for her. She has been extremely nasty to me, left me off everything. She is very paranoid. I know when the time comes, my brother will step forward to make all decisions and I will be expected to do the "dirty" work. I have just been curious about the mdeical POA and her not having one. Thanks again.

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