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What is a medical power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Estate Planning

When it comes to managing health crises and making important medical decisions, not everyone will be in a position to communicate their wishes effectively. This is where a medical power of attorney becomes an invaluable tool.

The role of a medical power of attorney

A medical power of attorney grants a chosen representative the authority to make healthcare decisions for someone when they are unable to do so themselves. This could be due to unconsciousness, mental incapacity, or other similar conditions.

The person who creates a medical power of attorney must carefully select a trusted individual, known as a healthcare agent. This agent is tasked with making medical decisions that align with the preferences and values of the person they represent.

Decisions made by the healthcare agent

The scope of decisions a healthcare agent can make is broad. They might decide on treatments, surgeries, or other medical care. The agent’s authority begins when a doctor certifies that the person who granted the power of attorney is unable to make their own medical decisions.

Importance of clear instructions

To ensure that the healthcare agent makes decisions that reflect the wishes of the principal (the person who created the power of attorney), it’s essential to provide clear instructions in the document. This might include guidelines on end-of-life care, pain management, and other important concerns.

Impact of a medical power of attorney

Setting up a medical power of attorney is a proactive step that can significantly impact how medical decisions are made during critical times. It’s an essential part of estate planning that protects the individual’s wishes and provides guidance to those making tough decisions on their behalf.