What Is A Health Care Power Of Attorney And How Do You Choose One?
Many people assume that drafting a will is the first and last component of estate planning, but this is not true. Drafting a will and updating that will is only one piece of adequate estate and care planning. No matter what age you are, it is wise to designate a health care power of attorney and draft a living will. You are able to make decisions in advance about life-sustaining treatments you would like and nominate a loved one or trusted friend to speak on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
What is a Health Care Power of Attorney Exactly?
A healthcare power of attorney is the person who makes medical decisions for you when you are no longer able to due a mental or physical incapacity. Ideally, a health care agent is designated much prior to an adverse health event and is prepared to serve. You can choose a close friend or relative to act in this position, but you should also consider nominating a substitute health care agent in the event your first choice is unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties. Often people choose a spouse or child but you are not limited to those selections. The person you do choose should feel comfortable discussing your medical history including allergies, previous procedures or surgeries and treatment plan. They also should understand HIPAA guidelines and what they are able to do on your behalf.
Health Care Power of Attorney Strengths
Your health care agent should feel at ease conveying your needs and wants to your team of physicians and healthcare providers, and you should feel comfortable allowing them to do so. In addition, your surrogate might play “referee” with other family members and close friends who have questions about your health status or requests. They should be comfortable and confident in this position. The best way to determine the right health care agent for you is to discuss their potential responsibilities prior to nominating them. In order for your healthcare providers to best care for you, your health care agent should be adequately informed about your medical history and treatment preferences. Your health care agent should be able to communicate your wishes as different health care needs arise. Your health care agent may also need to exercise discretion and strictly adhere to your confidentiality as a patient.
Contact the Attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group
Naming a health care power of attorney is an important part of the estate planning process, and it is not just for the elderly. Everyone should make an advanced directive and choose a surrogate they can trust. If you have questions about a healthcare power of attorney or living will, contact our team of experienced Tampa estate planning lawyers at Strategic Counsel Law Group. Our attorneys can help you discuss all aspects of choosing a surrogate and other issues to be aware of as you begin the estate planning process. Call today to schedule a consultation.