Having a medical power of attorney, you can designate an individual to make health care decisions for you if you become unfit to make those decisions on your own.
Whereas much of estate planning puts a focus on finances, an extensive estate plan should also assist in you preparing for any possible medical and/or health care decisions you might be required to make down the road. Meaning medical powers of attorney, also recognized as a durable power of attorney for health care, is vital.
What Is Medical Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney is legal documentation that designates a person as your representative and enables that person the power to act for you. Different kinds of powers of attorney address various situations.
With a medical power of attorney, you designate someone—usually referred to as your agent—to get involved and make medical decisions on your behalf if you turn too ill or are otherwise debilitated and can’t make those decisions for yourself.
Dissimilar to a regular power of attorney, which is non-durable, this type of power of attorney is without fail a durable power of attorney. Non-durable powers of attorney expire and is no longer authentic if you become debilitated. For this reason, medical powers of attorney are created to be durable—they don’t become effective unless you become debilitated.
Choosing Your Agent
It’s important to carefully think about who you want to designate to be your attorney-in-fact or agent under your medical power of attorney. Take note, even though using the word “attorney” in the terminology “attorney-in-fact,” this individual does not have to be an attorney. Many individuals designate a member of their family or close trusted friend as their agent.
Nevertheless, you want to choose as your agent an individual you can trust to make the same decisions for your medical care you would if you weren’t debilitated. Whereas an individual that acts under a power of attorney for medical decisions is required to make those decisions after any health care wishes that you’ve told them about, you are still putting plenty of trust in them. Designate an individual that won’t later choose to not carry out your wishes.
When You Don’t Have a Medical Power of Attorney
You might think you don’t need a medical power of attorney. For instance, perhaps you presently have a living will being part of your estate plan, or maybe you’ve already communicated your wishes to your loved ones about the type of health care you want to get should you become debilitated.
If you’re reluctant about the need to have a medical power of attorney, it’s critical to comprehend who is going to make medical decisions on your behalf when you can’t make those decisions by yourself.
- Living will. When you have a living will, it is going to only be carried out if you are in a permanently debilitated. The reasoning is a living will address end-of-life circumstances, and a primary requirement is that you are permanently debilitated. However, if you are momentarily debilitated —for instance, when you fall into a temporary coma after an accident and your doctors are anticipating you to, at some time, come out of it—your living is not going to be able to aid with the health care decisions that are required to be made throughout this time.
- Your loved ones know your wants. It’s easy to see the possible conflict that could arise in this situation. Your loved ones might not have been correct in remembering your instructions, might interpret your instructions to them differently or could decide on religious or ethical grounds that a different decision is going to be better for you. With a medical power of attorney, it avoids these circumstances. In addition, your state’s laws might give one of your loved ones precedence in terms of medical decision-making control over another loved one that might be more likely to make medical decisions in accordance to your wishes.
How to Acquire a Medical Power of Attorney
You can locate various places on-line to download a durable medical power of attorney form when you want to take a DIY approach. Nevertheless, even if you want to prepare your medical power of attorney documentation on your own, it’s always wise to seek advice from an estate planning attorney that can advise you on which documents you are going to need for your particular situation and needs.
Your durable medical power of attorney is a vital factor in your estate planning toolbox. By using a medical power of attorney, you will get the contentment that comes with having the knowledge a trustworthy individual is going to get involved and make important health care decisions for you when you are unable in making those decisions on your own.
Chen, J. (2021, June 7). What Is Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA)? Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/limited_power_of_attorney.asp.
Choose the Right Attorney in Arizona
Regardless of the choice you make, it’s important you make the best choice for you when hiring an attorney. Remember: The decisions you make now can affect your future. Ultimately, choosing the best lawyer will depend on which lawyer feels best for you and your situation.