We find the AgingCare website to be a good source information for end of life planning. The website includes a forum for readers to post questions and offer their experiences. However, readers need to be careful when the forum is used to seek legal help on end of life issues. One such topic thread began with a simple question about whether an elder law attorney is needed for a living will. The first answer started with the appropriate advice, but then went way off course:
Consult an elder lawyer.
A living will may not be required if you have a trust (to avoid all probate). You also require to be her POA as well as MPOA (which you are).
It all depends on what state regulations are….
Don’t wait. If at some point, she requires Medicaid, then the way would be paved.
The advice regarding trusts and POAs is completely wrong. Living wills, powers of attorney and trusts all have different purposes. If a parent expresses a desire for a living will, and you’re not sure what its purpose is or how to put one in place, then you should consult an elder law attorney.
Most of the “Answers” posted to this question were inappropriate and misleading. One answer recommended a guardianship. Others recommended a power of attorney. A health care power of attorney is important to have in place but a living will serve a related, but different purpose. The living will serves as a written instruction to health care providers if you should become terminally ill, are seriously injured or near the end of life. The living will is filed with your health care providers so they have instructions when your health care agent is not available.