Estate planning is more than deciding who inherits your property when you die. Several factors go into designing the best possible estate plan for your needs. One of those factors is whether you have established a medical power of attorney. This legal document is often used when someone experiences a major medical issue and needs someone to decide. There is always the chance that you will be hospitalized or unable to make your own medical and healthcare decisions. A medical power of attorney can improve your quality of life when you rely on another person. This article will shed some light on medical powers of attorney, why you may need one, and how an attorney can assist with the process.
What is a Medical Power of Attorney?
A medical power of attorney allows you to designate a trusted individual to make important medical decisions for you in your time of need. It’s a legal document generally drafted by an estate planning attorney to ensure it is executed correctly and efficiently. It’s important to fully trust the person you choose because they can step in and take care of your medical choices if you cannot. The medical power of attorney grants them the authority to choose between different medical treatments and make important decisions about end-of-life care, so choose wisely.
Who Can Serve as My Medical Power of Attorney?
Generally, you can choose anyone you wish as long as they meet the basic requirements set by law, such as being of legal age and mentally competent. This is an important designation since this individual will have much control over your quality of life, and you don’t want to appoint someone just because they ask. Most people choose family members such as their adult children, spouses, or siblings. You can even appoint a close friend if you believe they will work for your best interests. The person you choose should be dependable, be able to make the hard decisions and be present during any medical situations you may find yourself in. They must also be willing to accept the responsibility of being a medical power of attorney. You will want to discuss your wishes with your MPOA regarding your medical care to allow them to represent you properly.
What Medical Decisions Can My MPOA Make?
The person you choose to serve as your medical power of attorney can make a wide range of medical and healthcare decisions for you, especially when you are incapacitated and unable to speak your wishes. You can specify the roles and duties of your healthcare proxy in your medical power of attorney and the types of medical decisions they can make for you. It’s important to spend considerable time speaking with your medical power of attorney to explain your wishes to them.
Your medical power of attorney is just one piece of a comprehensive estate plan. Several advance healthcare directives include do-not-resuscitate (DNR), living wills, and organ donation. It’s important to discuss the types of directives you need with your attorney.
Can My MPOA Make Decisions Against My Wishes?
A medical power of attorney must act as your advocate, especially when you cannot do so yourself. Your medical power of attorney is legally bound to make medical decisions that align with your wishes. Your MPOA should follow your instructions and stay consistent with your original decisions. However, there may be situations that were not mentioned in your MPOA, and a conflict may arise. This is why it is important to communicate clearly with your MPOA and discuss your healthcare wishes in detail.
How an Attorney Can Assist
The medical power of attorney is important to improve your quality of life. You can rest knowing that someone else can make medical decisions for you. However, this document must be drafted and executed correctly, or it may be invalid. DIY estate planning is not recommended for medical powers of attorney, especially since this document can completely alter the outcome of your medical care.
An estate planning attorney can help draft and execute your medical power of attorney and ensure everything is done correctly. They can offer personalized legal advice beyond the one-size-fits-all approaches you may have seen online.
Contact an Attorney
Progeny Law Firm assists clients with estate planning in Baton Rouge, LA. Call (225) 465-1090 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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