The Importance of an Up-to-Date Medical Power of Attorney

In today’s uncertain world, a serious illness or an incapacitating injury can strike at any age. A properly drafted medical power of attorney (POA) allows someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You’re never too young or too old to consider this important step. Even your child heading to college may require you to step in if he or she cannot act after an illness or injury.

Suppose you’re seriously injured and doctors recommend a risky procedure that is your best chance for recovery. You may be unable to make this decision yourself. The POA allows your signer to intercede, making critical care decisions for you only if you cannot act. Your POA can legally talk with your physicians, deciding on the best course of action. The medical POA gives no power to make financial or other decisions, just the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. Only when you’re unable to act for yourself does the medical POA begin.

If you’ve signed a POA in the past, reevaluate it. Your signer may no longer be able or willing to help make these tough decisions. An up-to-date medical POA is essential to your healthcare and to your family.

You may hear medical providers call the medical POA an “advance directive.” Always provide a copy to your treating physician and to the hospital you’d likely visit with an illness. Discuss your wishes with your POA because it’s important he or she clearly understands what you do want and what you don’t want after a critical event.

Call us for information on POAs. We help walk our clients through many important life decisions. While these conversations can be difficult, it costs nothing for you to meet with us and discuss what’s best for you.