Life comes with its share of uncertainties. One of the uncertainties of life is the inability to tell what will happen in the future. If you are incapacitated following an accident or develop a condition that inhibits your ability to make important decisions on your own, someone will have to step up and act on your behalf.
A medical power of attorney is a legally binding provision that lets you appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. Since this designation can greatly impact your future, it is important that you are as thoughtful and detailed as possible while creating this estate planning tool to ensure that your wishes will be understood and respected.
How healthcare power of attorney works
Sometimes, you can outline the specific circumstances under which your agent will make healthcare decisions. However, if you do not have such provisions, then your agent will be obliged to make such decisions based on your best interests. As such, it is important that you designate someone you truly trust for this role.
Choosing a healthcare power of attorney: things to consider
Basically, a healthcare power of attorney can be your spouse, adult child, friend or legal counsel. That said, it’s important to understand that this individual will be required to make difficult and quick decisions on your behalf. Here are questions to ask when appointing a healthcare power of attorney:
- Are they trustworthy?
- Can they make decisions on your behalf even if you do not share the same belief system?
- Can they stand up for you?
- Can they remain calm and make rational decisions in a crisis or a quickly changing situation?
- Can they ask questions if they do not understand the treatment options?
A thoughtfully done power of attorney can give you peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be understood and honored when you are unable to make decisions by yourself.