Medical Power Of Attorney

Medical Power Of AttorneyA medical power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint a trusted adult (of your choice), to make decisions regarding your health care needs.It goes into effect if you become incapable of making sound choices.

A medical power of attorney is something that everyone should consider while they are healthy enough to do so. The document will protect your wishes and will go into effect if you become incapacitated due to accident, illness, or age. A medical power of attorney can also be used in conjunction with a living will, or any “do not resuscitate” orders that you have in place. However, a “do not resuscitate” order will only protect your decision if you are actively dying. It offers no protection if you become comatose or mentally or physically altered.

Anyone who is over the age of 18 (or an emancipated adult) can be given medical power of attorney. It can be granted to your children, spouse, or other loved ones or to a trusted friend. If your situation changes or you change your mind (while of sound mind), you can revoke the medical power of attorney. However, it is recommended that you assign a new medical power of attorney at the time that you revoke a standing order. This is to ensure your safety and well-being.

Not having a medical power of attorney can cause your family and friends undue stress, leaving your wishes for your own healthcare unfulfilled. Often families will have disputes over what your wishes are. Also, there are emergency situations that require immediate action, regarding your health. When moments like these arise, there is no time for questions or discussion.

Your medical power of attorney spells out the following details:

  • The principal or creator of the power of attorney (yourself)

  • The health care agent (the person granted power to act on your behalf)

  • Authorization of the agent to make decisions, specifically for medical purposes

  • Your signature and the signature of a witness

  • Preferably, notarized

  • Should state that it is in effect unless or until it is revoked by the principal

After the medicalpower of attorney has been created, the original can be filed with the court clerk in your area or kept in a safe place. The court clerk in your area can provide certified copies for all parties that need one. This includes all interested parties including members of immediate family, your doctors and the medical professionals who manage your care, and the designated health care agent.

Establishing a medical power of attorney is a responsible thing to do. It is a kindness to your family and friends, and it gives you peace of mind. This simple and efficient act is an important part of estate planning. Most people will not leave their property, investments, and assets to chance. Don’t leave your health choices to chance either. Talk to your family and prepare for the future while the power is in your hands.

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