Medical issues arise every day. Some of them, like allergies, are recurring and predictable. Others, like motor vehicle crashes, sudden falls or heart attacks, are sudden and unpredictable. Those unpredictable medical events can leave your loved ones in a tough situation, unless someone received medical power of attorney. It can seem morbid to consider or like you’re handing over control to someone else, but taking the time to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf is a wise choice. It gives you peace of mind to know that you’ll be taken care of properly in case of any medical issues.
If you and your spouse are both hurt in a car accident, who will make decisions about issues like which hospital to utilize? Under federal law protecting people’s private medical information (HIIPA), your children can’t really discuss your medical records and care without authorization by you. Creating a power of attorney for these kinds of medical situations ensures that your child(ren) can access necessary information and make decisions on your behalf. Doing it as part of your estate planning is a great idea, because you can include information about your wishes for medical care situations.
Medical incapacitation should be considered during estate planning
When you create a last will, estate plan or trust, you should take the time to plan for every possible contingency. That allows you the greatest peace of mind, while protecting your loved ones, your wishes and your assets. In addition to potentially creating a trust to reduce taxes and probate issues, drafting a specialized power of attorney document in case of medical incapacitation is a wise decision. You can make note of preferences, like whether you wish to be resuscitated, how you feel about life support, and even if you want to be an organ donor in the event that you pass unexpectedly.
One of the reasons people commonly put off creating a power of attorney is nervousness about giving up legal power, even to someone they trust. When you grant someone power of attorney, it does not need to be immediately active. Limits on the power of attorney can include that it is only granted if you (and your spouse, if applicable), are not available to make critical medical or financial decisions. A limited power of attorney specifically drafted in case you are medically incapacitated will protect you and help ensure that you are receiving adequate medical care.
An attorney can help create a legally sound power of attorney
There are forms out there to quickly create a power of attorney, but they are basic and somewhat confusing. Working with an experienced estate lawyer that you can trust helps ensure everything gets handled correctly.