Medical Power of Attorney
During times of national crisis when lives are hanging in the balance, it is important to talk about things relating to incapacitation, end-of-life issues, and death. We know it can be a fearful and painful discussion to have, but it is better to have it sooner than later. Phelps LaClair writes a medical power of attorney into every estate plan we design. We know how crucial this aspect of estate planning is for the grantor and for the family. What is a medical power of attorney and why should you have one?
No one can know if or when they may face a circumstance where they are unable to make medical decisions for themselves. Advance directives allow you to clearly specify your medical wishes before you experience any situation in which you are unable to express them yourself.
A living will expresses your desires for life sustaining measures. You decide beforehand whether or not you want to be resuscitated, intubated or kept alive on a ventilator. Having this in writing is merciful for family members who will not have the burden of making these difficult decisions for you.
In cases where you may not be able to speak for yourself, a power of attorney allows you to name someone to do that for you. A financial power of attorney names a person you trust to handle your financial affairs. A medical power of attorney authorizes a person to consult with doctors and make decisions with them according to your stated wishes.
Living wills can be very specific in addressing the kinds and levels of care you want in the event you are unable to state your wishes. A living will would cover end-of-life pain relief options such as a morphine drip. It would specify which life sustaining options you would want, and which you wouldn’t, as well as how long they would be maintained. Would you want to be resuscitated if you were in a vegetative state? Would you want to donate your non-damaged organs? How should your body be disposed of? All of these questions can be answered with a living will.
Medical Power of Attorney
However, because a living will cannot realistically anticipate every possible scenario, it is important to have a power of attorney. This person is often not a family member, but must be someone who can be trusted to follow your directives. Spouses and children may find it too emotionally painful to actually carry out what you desire, especially with end of life issues.
A named power of attorney must understand what you desire and be strong enough to carry it out. They must be clear on your wishes and not easily intimidated by professional medical advice. It is important for you to have ongoing communication from time to time with this person. Your desires may change over time, and new technologies may render previous wishes moot. The more they know what you want, the better they will be able to make decisions for you. It is also wise to have an alternate power of attorney in case the first candidate is unable to perform the duties required.
Don’t wait until it’s too late
Phelps LaClair is dedicated to providing the best estate planning possible. In our 40 years of business as an estate planning law firm, we have designed thousands of plans that have stood the test of time. We know the intricacies of the law, and we know that we can do for you what we would want done for ourselves. Please give us a call for a consultation to discuss your estate planning needs. Your first visit with us is complimentary and there is no obligation. If you recognize the need for a medical power of attorney in your estate plan, you owe it to yourself to give us a call.
Images used under creative commons license (Commerical Use) 03/27/2020 Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst