The start of the year has been busy with will signings. It seems that many of my clients had “Get a Will” at the top of their 2018 to-do lists and waited until December to get that done. As part of their will packages, all of my clients also do a Healthcare Power of Attorney. One of the more interesting discussions, after they’ve signed, is “Why don’t more people have one?” Last week, one of the clients answered that question by booking appointments for her 4 children to come in and get them done. They are all in college and she didn’t think they needed wills (I disagreed). But after going through her own process, she realized how important the healthcare power of attorney is for them.
What Is A Healthcare Power Of Attorney?
A Healthcare Power of Attorney is created to spell out your instructions and preferences for your medical care in case you become incapacitated. In it, you designate a person (or persons) to be your agent and speak to your wishes if you are incapacitated. The person you designate is given the authority to make decisions for you, including end of life decisions.
Why Do I Need One?
Simply, life is unpredictable. There is no guarantee of what tomorrow holds. It is a hard topic to think about, but one that you need to think about. While it may be scary to think of, not having the document can be scarier.
If you are in an accident and can’t speak, who will speak for you? You may think that the doctor will automatically speak to the right person, but will they? What if you and your spouse never talked about whether you want to be on life support? You could inadvertently create tension between your family members who disagree on what to do.
From a practical standpoint, without a plan, the hospital may use costly medical treatments that you would not have wanted. Especially if you have religious or philosophical views, they may never be told to the doctors.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
Many states provide basic forms for you to fill in. The big concern with any form, of course, is that a form can’t tell you if you’ve filled it out correctly. Even more concerning is paying for a form and then not filling it out correctly.
The best way to approach a Healthcare Power of Attorney is as part of an estate plan. There are a variety of documents at work and an attorney can be sure that they each complement each other. Without an attorney, you run the risk of having contradictions in your documents that create more problems than they attempt to solve.
Already have a Healthcare Power of Attorney but it’s been a few years and you may want to make some changes? Never even thought of it before but now think it’s a good idea? Call my office to set up a review of your document or a meeting to talk about creating one for you – (877) AMAYERS.