A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document and estate planning tool that allows a person to appoint an agent to make medical decisions on their behalf. These documents are typically used when the document creator—known as the principal—becomes incapacitated. An experienced estate planning attorney could help determine when these documents are available as well as decide the breadth and scope of the healthcare power of attorney.
While there is much flexibility that comes with these documents, there are also many important decisions to make. Given what is at stake, it could be in your best interest to allow experienced legal counsel to draft your power of attorney and advise you on what to expect during the process. Allowing a Prescott healthcare power of attorney lawyer to assist you in these efforts could provide long-term peace of mind to you and your family.
While a healthcare power of attorney is a standard tool used by estate planners, it involves decisions during the course of the principal’s life as opposed to following their death. A healthcare power of attorney empowers a person to make medical decisions for the principal when they are no longer able to make them on their own. This could come into play during a coma or when the principal is no longer competent due to a mental illness.
The specific powers of a healthcare power of attorney can vary. They could be limited in scope or provide for a broad range of decision-making. These decisions could involve whether or not to keep the principal on life support following a severe accident or whether they require routine surgery as opposed to physical therapy. A healthcare power of attorney lawyer in Prescott could answer questions regarding the scope and extent of these documents.
There are some similarities between a healthcare power of attorney and a living will. Ultimately, the goal of both documents is the same. While both estate planning tools exist to provide the principal with control over their medical care in the case of incapacitation, the way these two documents function is very different.
A living will is essentially a written list of the principal’s wishes. It could highlight the choices that person makes for themselves as well as the types of intervention or care they would refuse if given the choice. While these documents provide direct control of future medical questions, they lack flexibility. If a living will does not address a specific medical need, the principal’s wishes might be unclear.
A healthcare power of attorney has the flexibility that living wills do not. By empowering a specific person to make these important decisions, a power of attorney could make medical decisions that a living will does not address.
Both of these estate planning tools are valuable. A person considering their future care options could benefit from a discussion with a healthcare power of attorney lawyer in the area prior to making their decision on which option to choose.
Decisions about your future can be difficult, especially when they require you to consider the possibility of incapacitation. Despite these challenges, addressing these decisions head-on could bring peace of mind that your wishes will be followed.
Allow a Prescott healthcare power of attorney lawyer assist you with your long-term medical plans. Call for a confidential consultation today.
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