A medical power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated. You do not need to have lingering health issues to have medical power of attorney.
An unexpected event like an accident or sudden illness can make you incapable of making health decisions for yourself. For instance, when you are in a coma due to a brain injury or stroke and when you lose the ability to communicate due to a disease like dementia, a POA can kick in.
The person you appoint with a POA will make decisions affecting your health, such as treatment courses, facilities, medical tests, surgery, palliative care, and sometimes, whether to continue with life support.
Why is it necessary?
Appointing someone to manage your health affairs will take a considerable burden off your family’s shoulders. Some decisions can be very hard to make, given what is at stake. However, if you designate someone to act on your behalf and effectively communicate your wishes, it will not put your loved ones in a difficult place.
Who should you appoint?
Your agent, or the person you choose to act on your behalf, should be someone you trust to execute your wishes. They should be competent enough to understand your instructions and resolute when it is time to implement them.
Learn more about how power of attorney works
A power of attorney stretches beyond medical affairs. You can also have an agent act on your behalf on financial matters if you are incapacitated. In addition, there are various POAs to choose from, and you can choose whichever best suits your interests. When done right, a power of attorney can be a valuable addition to your estate plans.