Life or Death Decisions: Power of Attorney for Health Care v. Living Will


Do you know the difference between a Living Will and a Power of Attorney for Health Care? The difference is extremely important to know when it comes to your estate plan and making sure you’re putting power in the right hands.

There are two fundamental differences between a Power of Attorney for Health Care[1] and a Living Will[2]:

  1. The Decision Maker
  • In a Power of Attorney for health care, YOU APPOINT someone you know to make health care decisions for you.
  • In a Living Will the decision maker is your attending physician (who you may or may not know).
  1. The Subject Matter
  • A Power of Attorney for Health Care authorizes the holder to make decisions regarding your medical care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or treat an individual’s physical or mental condition; including the use or withdrawal of life sustaining procedures.
  • A Living Will authorizes an attending physician to withhold life sustaining procedures if you have an incurable or irreversible condition that will result either in death within a relatively short period of time or a state of permanent unconsciousness from which, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty(as confirmed by another attending physician), there can be no recovery.
  • The authority of the appointee of a Power of Attorney for Health Care is much more broad than a living will, but includes the same authority as that granted to the attending physician in a living will.

At Kreamer Law Firm, P.C., we recommend that our clients have a Power of Attorney for Health Care, but NOT a living will. This is because:

  • The overlap of authority between the two holders could create a conflict between the person you appoint and your attending physician. By having only one document you have only one decision maker.
  • The best person to make these decisions is someone you appoint (and therefore trust) to make these decisions, since you may not even know who is your attending physician at the time a decision is necessary.
  • Although they make these decisions all the time, we feel that this places an undue burden on the attending physician, who is tasked with providing you the best health care possible in EVERY situation.

Contact the Kreamer Law Firm, P.C. at 515-727-0900 or if we can be of assistance in your estate planning.

[1] Iowa Code Section 144A

[2] Iowa Code Section 144B

Yes, Lawyers CAN Have Fun, Too!

Last night, Kreamer Law Firm, P.C. sponsored the beer serving tent for the Historic Valley Junctions event/concert, Music in the Junction. And let me tell you, it was a great night! The weather was perfect, the music was great, and Tom Kutz and I had a blast handing out koozies and beers while showing the attendees that lawyers can have fun, too.


Secure Transactions and Blanket Liens

At the I-NEDA annual conference Sam Kreamer discussed some of the dangers that occur when blanket liens are involved in transactions. This issue is by no means an easy topic, and that’s why we’re here to help. Click the link to download the PowerPoint used that shows examples of the step by step procedures for these transactions. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 515-727-0900.…/INEDA-Secured-Transactions-2015.pptx

Upcoming Speaking Events

Whenever possible, one thing that I thoroughly enjoy doing is reaching out to the community and participating in speaking engagements to offer some (free!) legal advice. In the next few weeks I’ll be preparing for two big speaking events coming up in July.

On July 14th I’ll be speaking at the annual Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association meeting on “Getting What You Bargained For-Problems With ‘Blanket’ Liens.”  Click the link for more information:

And on July 27th and 28th, the Iowa State Education Association will have their Summer Leadership Conference where I’ll be discussing “Taking Charge: Estate Planning Considerations.” Click the link for more information:

If you have any questions regarding legal decisions for your business or estate planning, feel free to contact me at Kreamer Law Firm by calling 515-727-0900, or by emailing

Welcome to the Firm

HeadshotNewKreamer Law Firm, P.C. is pleased to welcome Thomas Kutz, J.D., M.A. as a new attorney.

Thomas graduated from Drake University Law School in 2014 specializing in Business Law and Public Interest Law with a passion for business formation and cultural property protection.

He will be practicing in Business Law, Transactional Law, Entertainment Law, and Estate Planning for the firm.

Click the link below to check out his profile on our website!

Picking an Executor: Part 2

In the last blog post, I answered two very important questions to consider when picking an executor: ‘what is an executor?’ and ‘what are the duties of the executor?” This blog will explore two more issues regarding picking an executor.


Executors are NOT personally liable to an Estate that they are administering UNLESS their action (or inaction):

  1. Constitutes neglect or unreasonable delay in collecting the credits or other assets of the estate or in selling, mortgaging or leasing the property of the estate;
  2. Constitutes neglect in paying over money or delivering property of the estate the fiduciary shall have in the fiduciary’s hands;
  3. Constitutes failure to account for or to close the estate within the time provided by this probate code;
  4. Results in economic loss to the estate arising from the fiduciary’s embezzlement or commingling of the assets of the estate with other property;
  5. Results in economic loss to the estate through self-dealing;
  6. Results in economic loss to the estate arising from wrongful acts or omissions of any co-fiduciaries which the fiduciary could have prevented by the exercise of ordinary care;
  7. Constitutes a negligent or willful act or nonfeasance in the fiduciary’s administration of the estate by which loss to the estate arises[1].


“Natural persons,” including BOTH residents and non-residents may serve as executor[2].

Banks (provided they have a trust department) and Trust Companies who are properly authorized to do so, may act as executor. Id.

In determining WHICH natural person (or bank) should serve as executor, the Court shall give preference to the following (in order):

  1. The person (or qualified bank) designated in the will;
  2. Any beneficiary named in the will, or a person nominated by the beneficiaries;
  3. Any creditor of the deceased, or a person nominated by such creditor;
  4. Such other person (or qualified bank) as the court may find to be qualified[3].

If you have any questions about establishing your estate plan and picking an executor, or if you are an executor and need legal assistance, please feel free to contact us at or by calling us at 515-727-0900.