Selecting someone to make health care decisions for you when you are unable, requires a great deal of trust and is considered by many to be the most important estate planning tool, according to The Daily News in “Choose Health Care Power of Attorney Carefully.”
The Durable Health Care Power of Attorney—H-POA—is similar to the general POA in that both can be used to provide your representative with either very broad or very limited acting authority. However, they are also very different. The H-POA can be drafted to retain its effectiveness, while you are alive and after you pass away.
The critical thing about an H-POA is the ability to tell the person you chose of your wishes about many different types of health and medical decisions. You can tell him or her exactly what medical treatments are acceptable to you or which you do not want to be used. That includes surgical intervention, autopsies, resuscitation, life support, organ donations and even whether to donate your body or specific portions of your body to science, medicine or education.
A less dramatic part of your H-POA concerns your representative’s right to access and disclose medical records.
The H-POA is a critical document that may make a life-or-death impact for you. In addition to selecting a person who you trust and count on to act as you wish, even if it is against their values, you’ll want to select an estate planning attorney who can create the document to achieve your health and medical wishes.
You do retain the right to revoke or change your H-POA at any time. You can do so verbally, by notifying your agent or your healthcare provider. It may be better to do this in writing. You can also draft a new H-POA, which revokes any previously written documents.
However you chose to revoke the H-POA, make sure that your representative and estate planning attorney know that you wish to do this. This should be done in writing to avoid any misunderstandings or confusion.
If you use an H-POA, remember that it supersedes the directions and wishes of anyone except you: that includes your wife, your children, your next of kin and your healthcare provider.
If you chose to have lifesaving care, your agent cannot tell your doctor to withhold care.
You should also tell your spouse, next of kin and any children that you have named someone to the position of H-POA. Make sure to also tell that person, so it is not a surprise to them. They may choose not to take on the responsibility, so be prepared with a contingent person.
Talk with an elder law attorney to make sure these documents are drafted carefully and correctly.
Resource: The Daily News (Memphis) July 25, 2018 “Choose Health Care Power of Attorney Carefully”
I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.
The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!
Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.
Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!
I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!