A medical power of attorney, also known as a healthcare power of attorney, is created to ensure that your medical care preferences are followed in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to communicate your own decisions. This is typically created in correspondence with a living will.
Taking this one step further, with a medical power of attorney you are able to grant another party, such as a spouse, the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. Known as your medical power of attorney agent, this person is taking on a big responsibility, as it’s not always easy to make critical end of life decisions.
Do You Need a Medical Power of Attorney?
There is no law requiring that you create a medical power of attorney. Even so, many people have found that this is something they should add to their estate plan.
When it comes to estate planning, it’s easy to think about one thing and one thing only: a future in which you are no longer around.
However, you also need to consider the here and now. What would happen if you were injured and find yourself unable to make key medical decisions? How about if you were to be struck with a serious illness?
This is where a medical power of attorney comes into play. While you are in sound mind and body, you can make critical decisions related to the type of care you want to receive. Along with this, and as noted above, you’re giving another person the ability to make decisions that you are unable to take on due to your condition.
Naming an Agent
It’s one thing to say that you want to create a medical power of attorney, but another thing entirely to actually tackle this process. Just the same as many details associated with estate planning, creating a medical power of attorney can be stressful.
The reason for this is simple: you need to think about the type of care you want to receive if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Plus, you need to name an agent who is responsible for carrying out your wishes and making other key decisions on your behalf.
This is why naming the right agent is so important. For some, such as married couples, this is an easy choice. They name their spouse as their agent and move on with the rest of their estate plan.
Others, however, don’t have things as easy. Instead, they need to consider other ideas, maybe because they are unmarried or divorced. In this case, you should think about other family members who could act as your agent. Along with this, there is nothing wrong with asking a friend to take on this duty.
When it comes time to name a medical power of attorney agent, don’t choose somebody before you talk it over with them.
Remember, this is a big responsibility. You don’t want to assume that somebody is okay with the idea, as they have the right to refuse in the future should they not feel comfortable with the tasks placed upon them.
If you’re going to name somebody your agent, have a conversation with them before doing so. This holds true no matter who it is, including your spouse or an adult child.
Even if you know the person will accept, this gives you the opportunity to discuss the finer details of your living will and medical power of attorney documents. If nothing else, it ensures that all parties are on the same page.
Creating a medical power of attorney can be a difficult task, as there are many decisions to make. Additionally, some of these decisions are sure to boggle your mind, which may require some deep thinking.
If you require any assistance, don’t hesitate to contact our legal team for professional advice and guidance. We can help you create a medical power of attorney and living will. Best yet, we’ll make sure that everything is in accordance with the law.
Your estate plan is very important, so make sure you have a clear understanding of the documents it should include. For many, this means the use of a living will and medical power of attorney.
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