Medical decisions are often tough and important. What happens if you’re unable to make one of these decisions for yourself — in a situation where you’re incapacitated or in a coma?
In today’s episode of Your Money Minute with Tracy Stewart, CPA, I want to talk about working with your estate attorney to create a power of attorney for healthcare. Yes, I am your money lady… but I know a thing or two about elder planning and making sure you have the right documents in place as you age. One such document is your power of attorney for healthcare, which grants legal authority to a trusted individual to make medical decisions on your behalf when you’re unable to do so for yourself.
So, say you’re in a medical situation where you’re physically and mentally incapable of making healthcare decisions for yourself. (Yes, this happens!) You need a capable, trustworthy individual who can help fulfill your wishes in instances where you simply cannot. With a power of attorney for healthcare, you can designate someone to make medical, hospital and other types of healthcare decisions on your behalf. I’ve talked about a statutory durable power of attorney previously, but this document grants rights specific to your medical needs.
My advice: Have this document prepared by your elder law or estate attorney. Be specific on paper and in conversations with the individual (or “agent”) acting on your behalf. Make sure you provide a copy of this document to your agent, spouse, doctor, estate attorney and adult children. Also make sure to leave copies of your power of attorney for healthcare in several locations, letting loved ones know where they can quickly and easily find it.
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