If you have not yet named someone with Medical Power of Attorney, stop procrastinating and get this crucial planning in place now.
What is a Medical Power of Attorney?
A medical power of attorney is a legal document you use to give someone else authority to make medical decisions for you when you can no longer make them yourself. This person, also known as an agent, can only exercise this power if your doctor says you are unable to make key decisions yourself.
Other Terms for Medical Power of Attorney
Depending on the state where you live, the medical power of attorney may be called something else. You may have seen this referred to as a health care power of attorney, an advance directive, advance health care directive, a durable power of attorney for health care, etc. There are many variations, but they all mean fundamentally the same thing. Texas has separate documents for the Medical Power of Attorney and Directive to Physicians (also called the Advanced Medical Directive). You also need a HIPAA Release form that is properly drafted to give your family access to your medical information. It needs to be designed so that it is accepted at any healthcare provider you receive treated from.
Be aware that each state has their own laws about medical powers of attorney, so it’s important to work with a qualified estate planning attorney to ensure your decisions will be enforced through legally binding documents. Also, some states may not honor documents from other states, so even if you made these decisions and created documents in another state, it’s wise to review with an estate attorney to ensure they are legally valid in your state now.
What Can My Medical Agent Do for Me?
Just like there are many different terms for the medical power of attorney, there also are different terms for the medical agent – this person may be referred to as an attorney-in-fact, a health proxy, or surrogate.
Your Medical Power of Attorney allows your agent to be your advocate when it comes to your medical treatment. Some of the things a medical POA authorizes your agent to decide for you:
- Which doctors or facilities to work with and whether to change
- Give consent for additional testing or treatment
- How aggressively to treat
- Whether to disconnect life support
We are ready to help walk you through these decisions, understand the ramifications of your choices, and memorialize your plans in binding legal documents. We are currently offering no-contact initial conferences remotely if you prefer. Book a call now and let us help you make the right choices for yourself and your loved ones.