Your current health may be excellent, but the future is unknown, and you may suddenly become hurt, sick, or unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself. If you’re unconscious after an accident, for example, you’ll need someone to make those decisions for you. A medical power of attorney allows you to name a trusted person to make health decisions when you can’t. The person you name should have the information they need to carry out your wishes.
What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?
A medical power of attorney, also known as a healthcare power of attorney, is a legal document that names someone to act as your agent and make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Your agent has a duty to make decisions that you would have made if you had been capable of making them. Most states do not allow your healthcare provider to serve as your agent, but you are free to choose another mentally competent adult. A medical power of attorney must be in writing and signed before witnesses and/or a notary, depending upon the laws in your state. The medical power of attorney will only come into effect if you are unable to communicate your wishes.
What Does Your Agent Need to Know?
Once you have decided who will act as your agent, have a serious conversation with that person to help them understand your goals and priorities for your health care, as well as the values you want your agent to apply while making decisions for you. Provide all the information your agent will need to know, preferably in writing.
Preferred providers. Provide the name, phone number, and address of the doctor you would like to be your attending physician, as well as other physicians and healthcare providers you would prefer to treat you if necessary. Likewise, if there are any physicians or providers you would like to avoid, you can list those as well.
Medical conditions. Your agent should know about all of your medical conditions. For example, if you have a condition that may lead to psychiatric symptoms, you can instruct your agent to have your physician rule out those medical conditions prior to authorizing psychiatric treatment.
Treatment and medical history. If you have had surgeries, give your agent a list of them and the dates they occurred.
Medications. Provide your agent with a list of all the medications you are taking. If you want your agent to refuse to authorize certain medicines, make that clear.
Allergies. If you have allergies, provide them to your agent.
Religious beliefs. Communicate with your agent about your spiritual beliefs and values. These beliefs may affect the extent of medical care you would like to receive, whether you would like a chaplain to be part of your medical team, or if there are any religious customs you would like to observe.
Let Us Help You Prepare for the Future
If you already have a medical power of attorney in place, it is important to review it annually. As experienced estate planning attorneys, we can help you put a plan in place to ensure that you will get the care you need, your finances will be managed, and your family members will be provided for and protected. Please contact us today to set up a meeting. Gain peace of mind by knowing that you are prepared for whatever the future holds.
You can schedule a call with us or reach us directly at 855.528.9637 to learn more about how best to plan today to protect those most important to you.