Powers of attorney are important estate planning documents. The two main types are legal (financial) and medical. We have already touched on how a financial power of attorney (POA) works, so now it’s time to consider a medical power of attorney.
For many people, it is best to use both documents. You can name the same person to become your agent in both cases, or you can pick different people, as you wish. Most important is choosing the right person for the job.
How it works: The main goal of a medical POA
Overall, the main goal of a medical power of attorney is to ensure that someone can make medical decisions for you if you cannot do so on your own. Using the paperwork in advance allows you to choose this person, meaning it will be someone you trust. You can then have conversations with them about your desires so that they know what type of care you actually want.
After all, a medical emergency could suddenly make it so that you can no longer communicate with the medical team, perhaps due to a loss of consciousness. You may have left instructions in an advance directive, but the reason for your impairment could fall outside of the scope of that directive. This is when someone else needs to weigh in, considering what they know about you and what you want, to ensure that the proper decisions are made.
Getting your paperwork set up
As with other estate planning documents, it’s very important to get things set up well in advance. Be sure you understand what legal steps you’ll need to take as you create your medical power of attorney and other end-of-life documents.