Medical Power of Attorney Denver CO
Advanced Directives, HIPAA Release & Health Care Power of Attorney
All too often I have clients who confuse a living will with a health care power of attorney or last will and testament. A medical power of attorney is a stand-alone document that is similar to the durable power of attorney but is for health care decision making. Although you may always be able to make any and all of your own health care decisions, if a time arises when you cannot, it will be so much easier on everyone if you have chosen someone to act on your behalf (your agent) and provided that information and authority through a medical power of attorney. Having the medical power of attorney in place will save a great deal of time and money because your loved ones won’t have to go to court to get the authority to act for you.
Getting this document in place also gives you the opportunity to discuss how you want medical issues to be handled by your agent in the event s/he has to step in and make decisions for you. A person may become incapacitated over time through the normal aging process, as the result of a catastrophic accident, or in any number of ways. If you have your documents in place beforehand, health care decisions don’t have to be put on hold while your loved ones rush to court to get the authority they need to make critical choices for you.
Our Denver CO estate planning attorney visits with many people who do not fully understand the importance of this kind of planning. A medical power of attorney puts you in charge of carefully deciding who will take care of things if you are unable to and is an impetus to have discussions with that person so they know what your wishes are and how you want your choices to be implemented.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney generally becomes effective when you lack decisional capacity to make medical treatment decisions. This document gives your agent authority to consent to or refuse medical treatment, including decisions about you getting artificial food and water. The medical power of attorney may include any directive, condition or limitation of your agent’s authority as you may deem appropriate. Some powers of attorney are quite detailed, and some are not. Of course, no agent may consent to or refuse medical treatment for you over your objection.
When choosing an agent, it is essential that you choose a person that you know will be able to make the decisions you want to be made, despite their own biases, opinions and feelings, if you aren’t able to speak for yourself. This is why you will want to discuss your wishes in detail with the person you have selected to be your agent. It is also important for your agent to be available and have your best interests in mind, should there come a time when that person has to step in and make choices for you.
When preparing a health care power of attorney, I make sure that you have all the bases covered including a HIPAA release and authority to select health care facilities including hospice. We will discuss everything you want to have covered and integrated into the document.
The medical power of attorney is one of the core estate planning documents I use and recommend when helping clients plan. When you meet with me, I suggest you bring your current will, trust, and any other related documents that will be helpful in understanding what you would like and need.
Call my Denver CO estate planning law firm today at 303-562-5973, and I’ll be happy to meet with you to discuss these important matters. Health care decisions are not to be taken lightly. You don’t want to leave the control of your medical care to chance.