The medical power of attorney is all too often the missing piece of an estate plan. Not having it creates havoc for family members, especially in an emergency.
If you think the only reason to have an estate plan is so that junior can inherit your empire—or your coin collection— think again. Estate planning includes preparing for medical emergencies, according to a recent article appearing in twincities.com, “Your Money: Medical power of attorney: the missing piece of too many estate plans.”
This means determining the person who will look out for your best interests, if you are unable to speak. In short, it involves naming someone you trust as your medical power of attorney.
A living will, or advanced care directive, are important documents in your estate plan. However, you also need a medical power of attorney to help ensure that you are getting the kind of care you would want. A medical power of attorney, sometimes known as a health care power of attorney, designates the individual(s) you would want to make health care decisions in your stead, if you’re unable to communicate. This is your health care agent or representative.
Unlike an advanced care directive or living will, your health care agent can make decisions for you when your incapacitation isn’t life threatening.
If you don’t have a valid power of attorney designating your official health care agent, most likely either your spouse, an adult child or parent will be asked to make medical decisions on your behalf. This depends on the state in which you live and your circumstances.
Appointing a medical power of attorney is the only way to be certain the person you feel most comfortable with, is in charge in case of an emergency.
When you choose your representative, make sure he or she is willing to take on that responsibility. You should also name an alternate representative, if your primary person is unavailable. Be certain that he or she is comfortable in abiding by your wishes and relaying that information to your doctor.
An estate planning attorney will be able to create the forms that are required by your state, but make sure to have them completed: that means having them notarized or witnessed. Don’t leave out the last step!
Reference: twincities.com (December 16, 2017) “Your Money: Medical power of attorney: the missing piece of too many estate plans”