A healthcare power of attorney (HCPOA) is a legal document that grants someone authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. This crucial document ensures that your healthcare wishes are respected and followed when you cannot communicate or make decisions.
Life is unpredictable, and unexpected medical situations can arise. Whether you are fit and healthy or have chronic medical issues, a health care POA can provide clarity for your medical care providers with the help of someone you trust. Without a designated healthcare proxy, your family members may face challenges in making critical medical decisions on your behalf. An HCPOA provides clarity and grants legal authority, reducing stress and potential conflicts during times of medical crisis.
An HCPOA is a document that states who has the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf, a secondary agent who acts in place of the primary agent if they are unable to act on your behalf, and the effective dates of the agreement. Your designated agent(s) will have full authority to make medical decisions, including but not limited to:
HIPAA laws require a registered HCPOA agent to release your medical records. By authorizing the release of health care information to your HCPOA agent, it ensures they have access to relevant medical records that may be vital to your medical care.
Some patients establish directives regarding life-saving measures. Your agent is responsible for honoring your wishes to provide or deprive life-sustaining measures, such as a DNR directive – do not resuscitate.
If you become incapacitated, your HCPOA agent will be responsible for overseeing medical care in line with your wishes. For example, a patient may have a personal conviction against a type of medical treatment, such as blood transfusions, which your agent will make sure is honored.
Your HCPOA agent is responsible for your well-being. If you become unable to care for yourself, your HCPOA will be responsible for making the decision to transfer you to an assisted living facility where you will be cared for in a secure environment.
Your HCPOA can also be the decision maker when it comes to organ donation to ensure your wish to donate your organs for research or transplantation is carried out.
Carlile Patchen & Murphy recognizes the significance of healthcare power of attorney in comprehensive estate planning. Our firm’s experienced estate planning attorneys work closely with you to understand your unique healthcare preferences and values. By crafting a customized HCPA, we can help you designate a trusted representative who will advocate for your medical treatment choices.
If you don’t have a healthcare power of attorney set up, contact our office today to get started. We’ll walk you through the complex process of setting up an HCPA and designating your agent to make sure your medical wishes are clearly defined and easy to follow.