Health Care Durable Power of Attorney
A health care durable power of attorney is the document where you state who will be your “attorney-in-fact” and make health care decisions for you if you become disabled. In this context, “disabled” means that a doctor has made a written statement that you are unable to manage your financial affairs. Only upon this determination would your attorney-in-fact have the authority to make decisions for you.
If you do not have a power of attorney and become disabled, you will likely have to go through a guardianship, which is the court process to appoint a decision-maker (guardian) for you. A guardianship can be very expensive, time-consuming, and can seriously limit your legal rights. In other words, it is worth avoiding if possible. Along with a financial durable power of attorney, a health care durable power of attorney is the best way to protect yourself from having to go through a guardianship.
The goal is that you never need to use a health care durable power of attorney. However, if it is needed, it’s very important and saves a lot of money and frustration for your family. When you appoint your attorney-in-fact, you must make sure that it is a person who is 100% trustworthy and will make all decisions in your best interests.
Examples of decisions or actions your health care attorney-in-fact may make for you or take on your behalf:
- Giving consent to surgery
- Hiring caregivers for you
- Hiring or firing medical professionals
- Determining what types of medication you should take
- Accessing and disclosing your medical records
Quick and Easy Wills Online
Direct who should be in charge of your estate and where your estate will be distributed.
For married couples to confirm they want their estate to go to each other without going through probate.
Give authority to someone to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
Give authority to someone to make financial decisions and manage your finances for you if you become incapacitated.
Tell your family if you want to receive life-sustaining treatment if you're in a permanent unconscious state or vegetative state.