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Living Wills vs. Power of Attorney for Personal Care

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Living Wills vs. Powers of Attorney for Personal Care (Ontario)

Please note that the following information is being provided for educational and informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

So the question has come up: what is a “Living Will” and how, if at all, does it differ from a “Power of Attorney for Personal Care”?

Living Wills
In Ontario, the words “Living Will” are used to refer to a document in which a person states what their final wishes are to be concerning their life when they can no longer communicate those final wishes. Generally, people say that, when this state occurs, they want to be taken off of life support (artificial machines keeping them alive) and allowed to die in a natural and dignified manner and only receive medication to deal with pain. Alternatively, they can say that they want to be kept alive using all possible measures. These documents are not legally binding and enforceable contracts in Ontario, but rather are directives of mere expressions of people’s final wishes. Indeed, there is no legal term in any statute that refers to a “Living Will”. Keep in mind that a “Living Will” only has relevance while a person is alive (unlike a Last Will and Testatement, which kicks in after a person passes away).

A Living Will is NOT necessarily the same thing as a Power of Attorney for Personal Care.

Power of Attorney for Personal Care
A Power of Attorney for Personal Care is a legal document wherein a person names a person (i.e. the attorney) and usually a substitute person (i.e. a substitute attorney who makes decisions in case the attorney cannot or will not) who will have decision-making authority to make health care decisions on the former person’s behalf. Importantly, the terms of one’s Living Will can be incorporated into your Power of Attorney for Personal Care. The latter are legal documents which can be enforced. Keep in mind that your Continuing Power of Attorney for Personal Care only applies while a person is alive (unlike a Last Will and Testatement, which kicks in after a person passes away). A Living Will differs from a Power of Attorney over Health Care because, with respect to the latter, no one needs to be named or appointed for one’s final wishes to be known.

Overall, it is best to speak with a lawyer about preparing a Living Will and/or a Power of Attorney over Personal Care.

For more information about Living Wills and Power of Attorneys in Ontario, check out these great government resources:

  1. Power of Attorney and “Living Wills, Questions and Answers, Ontario, The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (Reprinted in 2009); and
  2. Power of Attorney, Booklet, Ministry of the Attorney General

In case you were looking for a Power of Attorney for Personal Care that can incorporate the terms of your Living Will, look no further:

The Power of Attorney Wizard will allow users to make a custom-tailored .pdf Power of Attorney for personal care for Ontario that incorporates the terms of your Living Will.  There’s nothing else like it on the Internet. It’s been in the works for many months.

So what makes the Power of Attorney Wizard so great? A lot! It is the most advanced, comprehensive, and flexible software out there for making a Power of Attorney for Personal Care in Ontario (including Enduring Powers of Attorney). The amount of detail that went into this software is truly amazing. Here are some highlights:

  • Very comprehensive (nothing else comes close)
  • Very flexible in terms of the options (again, nothing else comes close)
  • Based on Ontario POA laws (unlike other kits)
  • Created by a Canadian lawyer (i.e. me)
  • Comes with free signing instructions
  • Comes with free edits for 90 days
  • Comes with free eBook about Powers of Attorney in Ontario
  • It will be regularly updated (particularly when the laws change)
  • Affordable: only $57 + tax!

I’m very excited about the Power of Attorney Wizard. It will go hand in hand with Canada’s #1 Will-creation software: the Will-O-Matic, which is offered exclusively here on DynamicLegalForms.com. I’m sure the Power of Attorney Wizard will get as much fanfare from the public and the press as the Will-O-Matic has received in the short time that it has been around.

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