Life is very unpredictable. One moment you could be having a great time with friends and family, and the next you could be rushed to an emergency room because of a heart attack. You could also be involved in a car accident that leaves you paralyzed. Although we all want to live a happy and healthy life, that doesn’t always happen.
So, what happens when you are incapacitated and cannot make crucial decisions about your medical care? If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, then a medical power of attorney could come in handy.
A medical power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone else to make your healthcare decisions if you are unable to do so yourself. This can be an important document to have in place if you become seriously ill or injured and are unable to speak for yourself.
If you need services for a medical POA right away, click here to have a notary public sent directly to you ASAP.
In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of medical POAs, including what they are, how they work, how you can obtain one, and why you might want one. Now, without further ado, let’s get into it.
What exactly is a medical power of attorney?
A medical power of attorney, also known as healthcare power attorney, is a legal document that allows you to give someone that you trust the legal authority of making your healthcare decisions when you are not in a position to do so.
Some of these medical decisions include how your hospital patient care is handled, medication, medical treatment options, end-of-life care, life-sustaining treatments, surgery, and much more. The individual, or parties, that you name in your medical power attorney to make these crucial decisions is known as your healthcare proxy or agent.
Life is unpredictable, you never know when unexpected circumstances like an illness, fatal accident, or complications from aging will occur. When you have a medical power of attorney, you will have peace of mind that someone trustworthy will act on your behalf, in case you are not able to.
Health care agent
When creating a medical power of attorney, you need to be careful about the person or parties you choose to be your health care agent or attorney-in-fact. This person will be making decisions involving your medical treatment that are crucial for your quality of life in the event you are not able to. This includes ending life-sustaining treatments. The individual that will carry this responsibility must be someone that you are sure will make the best health care decisions for you if you are not able to.
When creating a medical power of attorney, it needs to be a clear durable power of attorney. If it’s not durable, then it means that the person that you choose to make important decisions about your treatment will not be able to serve in this role when you are unable to communicate your wishes.
An advance directive
In many states, medical power of attorney will have the title “advance medical directive” at the top of the page. An Advance directive can be referring to a medical power of attorney. It can also be referring to the advance directives that are part of a last will or estate planning form where a person is giving specific instructions on how to act when it comes to end-of-life care if they can’t speak for themselves. Advance directives involve very different things so the best thing to do is pay attention when these words are used by a person to make sure you are discussing the same thing.
How to create a medical power of attorney
Now that you know what a medical power of attorney is, you may be wondering how to create one for yourself. In this section, we will give you a step-by-step process on how to create a medical power of attorney.
Step 1: Choose your healthcare proxy or agent
When creating a medical power of attorney, the first crucial thing you need to do is to decide on who you want to be your health care proxy. The person or parties that you choose to be your health care agent will have a lot of power over your medical decisions. You need a person that you trust will make the best decision on your behalf.
For example, this can be family members. Before you finally settle on a particular person to grant medical powers to, talk to them to know whether they will have your best interest and also whether they are willing to act as your agent.
Step 2: Determine the decision your healthcare agent will make
You also need to determine the decisions that your healthcare agent will make. This is a very important stage because the roles that you assign to your healthcare agent will have a huge impact on your health and well-being when you are not able to communicate your wishes. Think about what legal power you would like them to have, how they will handle life support, all health care decisions, and your patient care, along with their ability to communicate with medical professionals like your primary care physician and other doctors.
Step 3: Get a medical power of attorney form and complete it with the help of a notary public
Step 3: Get a medical power of attorney form and complete it with the help of a notary public
As part of our services, we can provide these forms for you, and have a certified notary public sent anywhere in the country. In most cases, we can have a notary public to you within the hour. Click here now if you need a medical POA brought directly to you.
Once you have chosen a healthcare agent and the decisions, he/she will make for you, the next process is to get a medical power of attorney form. This process is simple; all you need to do is take the medical POA form from the state office or use online software to print one. Complete the form by filling in all the blank spaces. When filling out the form, make sure you enter correct information that can be verified even when you are incapacitated.
Most states require the applicant to get the medical power of attorney form notarized while others require you to add more witnesses and the signature of your healthcare agent. So, ensure that you familiarize yourself with the requirements of your state. You can check with the American Bar Association for the official law in your area.
Step 4: Sign the documents in front of a notary public
You will need to sign the documents in front of a notary public. Many states also require 2 witnesses. Some states allow the notary public to sign as a witness as well. I would suggest that you get 2 separate witnesses, in addition to the notary public, for a legal document that is this important. The witness should not be a family member or a person that could potentially benefit from the actions taken by the agent.
When your appointed agent signs the medical POA, they are signing as the attorney in fact.
Step 5: Give your agent a copy of the medical power of attorney
Once you have completed the forms, give your healthcare agent and any other person that you think should have a copy of your medical power of attorney like your licensed physician, attorneys, or your partner.
Your healthcare agent needs to present the forms to your physician before he/she is allowed to act on your health care. So, he/she needs to have a copy of your medical power of attorney.
Step 6: Keep your medical power of attorney safe
Once you have given your agent, and any other important person a copy, keep your copy in a safe place. This could be in a safe deposit box, bank, or at the office of a trusted group of attorneys. Wherever you choose to store it, ensure that it is a safe place where nobody can steal or tamper with it.
Step 7: Update it if the need arises
If the need to update your medical power of attorney, don’t hesitate to make changes. For example, if your healthcare agent is no longer alive or moves to a different country, you can update your medical power of attorney and assign that role to another person. You can also update it if you decide to assign more roles to your healthcare agent.
A Digital copy
A digital copy is just as enforceable as a printed copy in most states. One of the best ways to keep a copy of this document is to make a scan of it, save it on a flash drive, and email it to your agent and to yourself. When you do this, you will always have access to the document in the event that you happen to need it in an emergency where you need to be able to present this to doctors and take immediate action.
What medical powers can you assign your healthcare agent?
When you choose a healthcare agent, that particular person will make crucial decisions about your medical care on your behalf. It is important to choose someone that you are sure will make the best decision for you.
It is up to you to decide the roles to assign your healthcare agent. Some people choose to assign roles that their healthcare agent can make on their behalf while others allow them to make any decision about their medical care. If you choose to assign roles that your healthcare agent can make for you, below are some of the things you can consider assigning.
- Determine who takes care of your everyday treatment including things such as basic living like bathing and food that you eat.
- Decide where you live. The healthcare agent can decide between these three options: residential long-term care assisted living, or a nursing home.
- Determine the kind of medical care you receive, including home healthcare, surgery, medication, or medical treatments.
- Determine when you will receive your medical care.
- Determine the doctor and other healthcare practitioners who will administer your treatment.
When does a medical power of attorney take effect?
A medical power of attorney will take effect as soon as you are not able to commutate your wishes about your medical care. Below are some of the things that could make your medical power of attorney take effect.
- When you are under general anesthesia.
- When you suffer from an illness such as a stroke and you cannot communicate your wishes.
- When you get involved in a horrible accident that leaves you in an unconscious state or in a coma for days. Any situation when it is uncertain if you will be alive.
- When you suffer from a degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or any other form of degenerative disease that affects your ability to make rational decisions.
Benefits of medical power of attorney
1: It gives everyone involved peace of mind
One of the benefits of having a medical power of attorney is that it gives everyone involved much-needed peace of mind. When you know that someone that you trust will make crucial decisions about your medical care when you are not able to communicate your wishes, you will have peace of mind, especially if you have specified the kind of decisions that should be made.
Remember that if you don’t have a medical power of attorney, your family members will be forced to go to court in order to be granted the power to make decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated. More so, they will be left guessing the decisions to make for you since you did not tell them what to do.
However, if you appoint someone that you trust to make crucial decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated, you will have peace of mind because you know you are in safe hands. Your family will also have peace of mind and not carry a heavy burden.
2: It gives you control over your healthcare even when you are incapacitated
Another benefit of having a medical power of attorney is that it gives you the power to determine what should be done to you when you are not able to express your wishes. The best time to plan is when you are healthy.
When you create a medical power of attorney and state clearly what should be done when you are incapacitated, then no one will go against your wishes. However, without a medical power of attorney, then you will have no power to determine what happens to you.
3: It avoids the need to get the court involved
When you create a medical power of attorney, your family will not have to petition the court to appoint a healthcare agent. Instead, you will use the healthcare agent that you have chosen to make decisions about your healthcare when you are incapacitated.
Additionally, the court will not monitor every decision that the healthcare agent makes, thus making the entire process less stressful. When you have a medical power of attorney, your family will not have to get the court involved, nor seek out a law firm or attorneys. The appointed healthcare agent will jump into action immediately.
Is a medical power of attorney ideal only for old people?
NO, it is not only sustainable for old people. While older people are more likely to suffer from a medical condition that could make the medical power of attorney be put into action, anyone, including young adults could find themselves in a position where they need this document.
For example, when you get involved in an accident that incapacitates you, a medical power of attorney will come in handy. So, this document is not only ideal for seniors, it is even suitable for young adults. Creating a medical power of attorney will ensure that you have someone trusted to carry out decisions on your behalf when you are not able to.
A medical POA does not give control over a person’s finances.
A separate document is required for financial power of attorney. Financial POA covers finances, personal finance, and other financial decisions. This does help to prevent a single document to have large amounts of authority and agent powers over a person’s life. Personal finance is another area that greatly impacts someone’s life. However, most people will name a single person for both medical and financial power of attorney. You can learn more by clicking here now.
A Medical Power of Attorney is an important document that can protect your wishes in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself. It is important to choose someone you trust to be your advocate and to have a conversation with them about your wishes. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor, primary care physician, or other medical professionals.
We hope this article was helpful in explaining what a Medical Power of Attorney is and why it is so important. If you have any further questions or need a notary public, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Stay healthy! For further help on obtaining medical POA forms and a notary public in your area, click here.