A living will or directive to physicians directly informs your doctors that you do not want extraordinary medical measures taken, especially those that would cause you pain or discomfort, if those measures would only prolong the dying process. This document backs up your health care power of attorney. Anyone can deliver this document to your doctors if your agent under your health care power of attorney is unavailable to make health care decisions for you.
Given that we are all likely to suffer from some form of disability during our lifetimes, it is critical that we think through these issues carefully and that we prepare the legal documents necessary to effectuate our desires - so that our desires will be carried out even if we are unable to express them ourselves. This is one area where the help of counsel who focuses on these issues is especially critical.