Why Is Having A Medical Power of Attorney So Important?
As you enter your senior years, one of the options you will face is whether or not to name someone as your medical power of attorney. Given the breadth of the decisions you have to make in your golden years, this one can sometimes fall through the cracks and be forgotten. Hence, we would like to take a few minutes to discuss a medical power of attorney, and why it is so important to have one.
What is a Medical Power of Attorney?
When you name someone to act as your medical power of attorney, you grant them the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. This is different from a general durable power of attorney where your agent is given the ability to manage your finances. The powers granted to your medical power of attorney are limited to those matters directly related to your facility, treatment and other healthcare related decisions.
A medical power of attorney is different from a living will. A living will enables you to dictate when to remove life sustaining support in certain end of life solutions; the medical power of attorney gives the decision-making ability for facility and treatment choices to someone you trust. If you wish, you can limit the types of healthcare decisions that your representative can make.
Why Should You Have a Medical Power of Attorney?
It is important to have a medical power of attorney because you simply cannot anticipate every situation in which you may find yourself. A living will is only as effective as the specific scenarios it addresses; as such, the protection it offers is limited.
In contrast, a medical power of attorney can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if the worst happens, someone you trust can make almost any of your healthcare decisions for you.
You cannot predict what may happen in your senior years. Fortunately, with a medical power of attorney, you can be prepared for the unexpected.