If you become incapacitated, a healthcare power of attorney (also known as a healthcare proxy) is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone you trust to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Choosing the right person to serve as your healthcare power of attorney is an important decision, as it will be this person who will be responsible for making major healthcare decisions for you when you are unable to do so yourself.
If you are married, it is likely that you will choose your spouse to be your healthcare power of attorney. If you are not married, you may choose a parent, a sibling, or an adult child. It is also a good idea to have at least one alternate healthcare power of attorney in case your primary choice is unable to serve. Having multiple people named as healthcare powers of attorney can ensure that there is always someone available to make decisions for you in the event that something happens to your primary choice.
There are several situations in which you may need to update your healthcare power of attorney. If you go through a divorce, you may not want your ex-spouse to be the person responsible for making major healthcare decisions for you. It is important to carefully consider who you choose as your healthcare power of attorney, as this person will have a significant amount of influence over your healthcare decisions.
Another situation in which you may need to update your healthcare power of attorney is if you or your primary healthcare power of attorney experience a major life change, such as a death or a significant illness. These types of events can significantly impact a person's ability to serve as a healthcare power of attorney, and it is important to update your documents to reflect any changes in your personal or family circumstances.
It is important to review your healthcare power of attorney periodically and update it as needed to ensure that it accurately reflects your wishes and that the person you have chosen to serve as your healthcare power of attorney is able to fulfill their responsibilities. Working with an estate planning attorney can help you to properly execute a healthcare power of attorney and ensure that it is properly updated over time.
Having a healthcare power of attorney in place can provide peace of mind, knowing that your healthcare decisions will be made by someone you trust if you are unable to make them yourself. It is a crucial document to have as part of your overall estate plan, and taking the time to carefully consider your options can ensure that your healthcare wishes are respected and carried out.
Do You Need an Estate Plan?
If you don't already have an estate plan, or if you have one that needs to be updated, let's schedule a Legal Strategy Session online or by calling my Edina, Minnesota office at (612) 294-6982 or my New York City office at (646) 847-3560. My office will be happy to find a convenient time for us to have a phone call to review the best options and next steps for you to work with an estate planning attorney to get your estate plan prepared.