As you are planning how to distribute your estate, there are many legal instruments to consider. These can help make potential future situations easier for you and your loved ones. One of these is a medical power of attorney (POA). This can also be called an advance healthcare directive or, more briefly, an advance directive.
There may come a time in our lives when we are unable to make our own medical decisions. This could occur as a result of injury, illness, or old age. While we can’t necessarily anticipate such a situation, we can plan ahead for it. A medical POA is a way to do just that.
Why Would I Want to Create a Medical Power of Attorney?
A medical POA is an advance directive regarding medical decisions to be made on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so. The person you choose to make these decisions for you can be referred to as your agent or as your medical power of attorney. They would be able to make essentially any medical decision that you would be able to make yourself.
A medical POA takes effect immediately after you have delivered the signed document to your agent. They will only be able to make medical decisions on your behalf after your doctor has certified in writing that you are unable to do so yourself. Without a medical POA, your doctor would make decisions for you based on what they believe is best.
Since the need for a medical POA could occur at literally any moment, it’s never too soon to create one. By doing so, you will ensure that your wishes for your medical care are enacted. You will also help ease a time that may be highly emotional and difficult for your family and friends.
What Types of Decisions Can My Agent Make for Me?
The person you choose as your medical POA can make medical decisions on your behalf in virtually any area. This includes your specific preferences for or against any type of medical treatment. These can include decisions regarding:
- Organ donation
- Convulsive treatment
- Tests to be performed
- Withholding treatment in an attempt to provide you comfort
- Which doctors and healthcare facilities will treat you
- Whether to keep you on life support
- How aggressively conditions such as brain disease will be treated
- Whether surgical procedures will be performed
Because of the nature of these decisions to be made on your behalf, it’s important to discuss them in advance, so your medical POA understands your wishes. You should also discuss any other related matters with them so they are fully aware of your desires. These may include aspects such as moral beliefs and religious beliefs.
Who Should I Choose as My Medical POA?
The person you choose to act as your agent must be at least 18 years old. You should choose someone that you trust will carry out your wishes as they make decisions for you. This could be a spouse, trusted friend, or close relative.
This person will carry a significant amount of responsibility, so you want to make sure you know them well. Consider people who you know will be calm under pressure. You want someone who will ask questions if they need more information to understand a situation. Above all, choose someone you trust to act with your best interest in mind.
What Do I Need in Order to Create a Medical POA?
Once you have decided that you wish to establish a medical POA, you will need to select the person who will act as your agent. There are several forms that will need to be completed to designate the person you choose as your medical POA. One of these is the Texas Health and Human Services Commission medical power of attorney form.
You should consult an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss your wishes. It’s important that you understand the implications of the estate planning choices you make today. There are laws that can impact your situation. In addition, you may also be well-served to consider creating a will or trust.
Contact Staubus and Randall Today
If you are planning your estate, you may be considering a medical power of attorney. You should speak with an experienced Dallas estate planning lawyer. Call us today at 214-691-3411 to speak with a member of the Staubus and Randall legal team. Our lawyers are ready to schedule a consultation with you. Call us now.