The matter of healthcare if an individual becomes mentally debilitated and discussing that individual’s end-of-life options are sensitive subjects for most people. But not having a healthcare plan in place is more troubling than the distress such discussions may cause.
For instance, failing to have a medical plan might result in you being subjected to costly or unwanted treatments, which might include those that you’re opposed to because of your religious or philosophical views. Additionally, there’s a chance that your well-meaning loved ones might end up fighting with one another while you lay incapacitated in the hospital bed.
To save your loved ones from all the potential stress and heartache, consider creating a medical power of attorney. This is among the most crucial legal documents you can craft to help make certain that your medical or healthcare wishes will be carried out.
In a nutshell, it enables you to assign an individual to be your medical agent or representative when you become incapable of communicating or making decisions regarding your medical care.
What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?
When you create a medical power of attorney, you’ll be granting a specific individual the power to decide matters about your medical treatments. Depending on your wishes, you can give your representative full legal authority to decide all aspects of your medical care or give them the power to make specific medical decisions. With this in mind, it’s crucial to appoint someone you really trust as your representative to make difficult medical choices on your behalf.
It’s up to you to provide your representative as little or as much power as you want. However, make sure that your wishes are specific because most states will usually give them complete control over your medical decisions. You can also indicate medical-related decisions in your will and testament with help from your lawyer.
What’s Included in a Medical Power of Attorney?
A representative with the medical power of attorney would usually have:
- Visitation rights
- Access to all of your medical information, including hospital records
- The authority to deny or approve consent for all medical treatments provided that it does not conflict with the terms in a living will
- The authority to decide which medical professionals and physicians can treat you
- The authority to choose which medical facilities you get treatment from
- The authority to go to court in the event of contested medical treatments
- The authority to decide what happens to your body when you die, which can include donating your organs—This is among the most contentious issues among family members, so it’s recommended that you write specific wishes about this issue in a living will.
Keep in mind that your representative does not have the power to overrule anything in a living will. They’re only able to supplement the provisions in your will when an issue arises that you did not specify in the living will.
You can’t possibly predict every eventuality. But you can have some control of your life by planning and having a medical power of attorney.