- Health Care Proxy and Medical Power of Attorney are used interchangeably and refer to a legal document that allows a designated individual to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated and are unable to carrying out medical decisions on your own.   The designated individual continues to be allowed to make healthcare decisions for you as long as you are incapacitated.   

Healthcare Proxies are permitted in forty-nine states as well as the District of Columbia.  In most states the document must be witnessed or notarized to ensure that it has been properly executed.   Check on the laws of your state to see if this is required.

– A living will is a legal document in which patients instruct health-care providers about their wishes with respect to medical procedures should they become incapacitated.  A living will provides details under which patient should or should not receive medical intervention such as resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, nutritional assistance and hydration, dialysis and other life support measures. 
A living will cannot anticipate all situations but it serves as an important guide to the health care proxy and family when decisions about medical intervention must be made.