Power of Attorney - Health Care by primusboy


									Power of Attorney - Health Care
A power of attorney for healthcare decision making is a valuable tool
that grants someone the authority to make medical decisions for you if
you are incapacitated and unable to make those decisions.
Most states have forms that can easily be filled-out. Many states, like
California, require that the power of attorney be signed by you and two
witnesses, or signed by you before a notary public.
In this document, you have the opportunity to give many instructions,
including whether you wish to be buried or cremated, whether you want to
donate body parts for research or education, and whether you want heroic
measures to be made to keep you alive - even though your medical doctors
have determined that you have no brain activity and will never recover.
Unpleasant decisions, but this document relieves your loved ones from the
emotional burden of having to make those decisions by themselves. When
named as your agent (a trusted family member or friend) under the power
of attorney, their task is to simply carry out your written instructions.
Of course, it is impossible to write out instructions for every type of
medical decision that may become necessary. No one has a crystal ball to
anticipate what options will be given by your doct ors to address every
type of disease or injury that may need to be addressed in the future.
Therefore, many powers of attorney will give instructions that decisions
are to be made in accordance with what your agent believes you would have
wanted and, if unknown, then such decisions should be made in your best
It is very important that you talk with your agent and inform them that
you wish to name them as the person who will have authority to make
medical decisions if you are incapacitated. It would be quite unnerving
if they first learned of this by receiving a phone call at two in the
morning from a hospital, and were being asked to make a medical decision
regarding you. A copy of your power of attorney should be given to your
selected agent.
It is also important that your doctors, and hospital (if you have a file
or chart there) also receive a copy of your healthcare power of attorney.
Without a copy, they are unable to contact your agent for instruction
regarding your medical care.
It is not always necessary to have an attorney prepare the power of
attorney for you. Many forms are relatively self -explanatory. However, an
elder law attorney can be helpful by explaining the law, asking important
questions regarding your wishes, and making sure t hat the document is
properly executed. Remember: an improperly prepared document is useless
and defeats your ability to make healthcare decisions in advance.
A properly prepared power of attorney for healthcare decision making is a
valuable tool to ensure that your medical wishes are carried out if you
become incapacitated, and relieves your loved ones from having to make
those difficult choices if the need arises.
George F. Dickerman is an elder law attorney in Riverside County,
California, practicing law for 23 years. To learn more about elder law
issues, and to subscribe to a free newsletter that provides valuable
information on how to assist your family members or loved ones, please
visit http://Elder-Law-Advocate.com/Health_Care_POA.html

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