Questions & Answers: Advance Directives and End of Life Decisions
If I refuse life support, will my life insurance be invalid?
No. Terminating or withholding a medical treatment is not suicide and will
not invalidate a life insurance policy. The cause of death is the medical
condition, which the treatments can do nothing to reverse.
What is the difference between a "will," a "living trust," and a "living will"?
Wills (last will and testament) and living trusts are both financial
instruments; they allow you to plan the distribution of your financial assets
and property. In contrast, a living will deals with medical issues while you
are alive. It allows you to express your preferences about your medical care at
the end of-life.
Wills and living trusts are complex legal instruments, and you might need
legal advice to complete them. Although living wills and medical powers of
attorney also are legal documents, you do not need a lawyer to complete
What is the difference between a financial "power of attorney", a financial "durable power of attorney" and a "medical power of attorney"?
A power of attorney and a durable power of attorney are both legal documents
that let you appoint someone to make financial decisions for you. A regular
power of attorney is effective only while you can still handle your own
finances, whereas a durable power of attorney remains valid even after you have
lost the ability to make financial decisions (due to Alzheimer's disease, for
A medical power of attorney (which in some states is called a "durable
power of attorney for healthcare") only permits the appointed person to
make medical decisions for you if you cannot make those decisions yourself. It
does not authorize the person to handle your financial affairs, and normally
does not empower him or her to make decisions while you can still make
In most states, you can appoint the same person to make financial and
healthcare decisions for you, but you must use separate documents to do so. To
learn about your state's law regarding financial powers of attorney or durable
powers of attorney, contact a lawyer.