Understanding Power of Attorney’s Role in Healthcare
Many people believe that estate planning is only important for determining who will receive your assets when you die. In fact, estate planning includes much more than executing a will or a trust which will take effect upon your death. A comprehensive Estate Plan will help provide stability and continuity to you and your family during an illness or disability, even a short-term disability.
Everyone understands that it is impossible to predict an accident or the onset of a serious illness. However, life can change in an instant and you may be left unable to make decisions about your health care. Therefore, one of the most important documents in a complete Estate Plan is the Power of Attorney for Healthcare. This is a form document that should be completed with the help of a qualified attorney in order to maximize its effectiveness and ensure that it accurately represents your wishes. Here is a link to the form.
With a Power of Attorney for Healthcare, you can nominate a person to act on your behalf to make decisions based on your personal values and wishes when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. The person you nominate or name in your Power of Attorney for Healthcare is called your “agent.” You may identify a successor agent or a “back up” agent just in case your named agent is unable to act. However, you are NOT able to name co-agents. Only one person can be your agent. This is important because it allows the doctors to rely on the decisions of one person rather than have to sort out a dispute between two co-agents.
When I Need to Designate a Power of Attorney for Healthcare?
If you are unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself, the agent you appoint in your Power of Attorney for Healthcare steps into your shoes and makes any decisions regarding your health care on your behalf. For example, your agent can talk with physicians and other health care providers about your condition. Your agent can review your medical records and approve who else can see them. Your agent may give permission for medical tests, medications, and surgery and choose where you received medical care. Your agent will also be authorized to make decisions regarding end of life care, within the parameters you specified in the Power of Attorney for Healthcare document. Finally, if necessary, your agent may decide what do with your remains after you pass. In the event of a disability or incapacity, a Power of Attorney for Healthcare is the most effective estate planning tool that an individual can have. It is also one of the easiest to put in place.
Contact Hays Firm With Questions About Power of Attorney for Healthcare
If creating an Estate Plan seems confusing and overwhelming, consider working with the Hays Firm LLC to execute your Power of Attorney for Healthcare and other estate planning documents. It is important for you and your family to have a comprehensive estate plan in place to protect you and your loved ones during your life and after your death. Please contact us to talk about how we can help.