Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney (also called a power of attorney for healthcare), appoints an agent, usually known as a Healthcare Agent, to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so for yourself. Whereas a living will address periods normally associated with the last moments of life, a medical power of attorney provides an agent to make healthcare decisions for you while you are incapacitated. A medical power of attorney goes beyond a living will since the agent usually has the power to:
- hire or fire medical personnel;
- consent or refuse to consent to medical treatments;
- gain access to medical records; and
- visit after visiting hours are over.
The Time to Plan is Now
Most people do not think about who will make medical decisions for them in the event they become incapacitated and unable to speak for themselves. Whatever the cause of one’s incapacity, a little bit of planning will prevent undesirable decisions made on your behalf. Also, a small bit of planning will make certain decisions are made concerning your medical state. And without these documents, which clearly state your desires and opinions, your family may begin to feud over the choices they are faced with and incur substantial legal costs as they battle it out in court.