A last will and testament spells out whom you want to give your assets to after you die. If you have minor children, it also allows you to name a guardian to care for them.
In your will, you also name an executor, who is tasked with making sure your wishes are granted.
A durable power of attorney
If you are sick and unable to do things like pay your mortgage, rent and other bills, a durable power of attorney enables you to assign someone to make financial decisions for you.
This can be a spouse or another family member or a friend. You can also name a backup in case your first choice is unable or unavailable to fill the role.
A health-care power of attorney
This designates someone to handle your medical decisions if you become sick and can’t make them for yourself — from the emergency room to ongoing hospital care, rehabilitation and outpatient visits. It is also called a health-care proxy.
A living will
This is not to be confused with a last will and testament.
A living will, called an “advanced directive” for medical decisions in some states, is a written document that lets you express your wishes for medical treatments you would or would not want to be used to keep you alive, including resuscitation and intubation.
Your health-care proxy must abide by what you have spelled out in your living will.