A fundamental right that we have is the ability to make decisions regarding our own bodies, particularly when it applies to medical treatment. But who will make decisions regarding your medical treatment if you are unconscious or incompetent? How do you ensure that your health care wishes will be honored?
A health care power of attorney can provide you with the peace of mind that you will be taken care of in the way you desire.A health care power of attorney is a document that designates a specific person to speak for you, should you be unable to communicate on your own.
Whereas a living will focuses primarily on very specific, usually end-of-life, situations, a health care power of attorney applies whether your situation is terminal or not, and applies to just about any health care decision that needs to be made if you are unconscious or incompetent.
In the document, an agent is specified by you and is required to make decisions that are in harmony with your health care wants and desires. It is important that you choose someone that you know well and who will know how you feel on a variety of health care issues. You cannot, however, name your doctor or any employee of your healthcare facility.
Once you have decided who will be your agent and have executed your health care power of attorney, it is important to discuss with your agent exactly what your wishes are, should an emergency situation occur. Keep in mind that this arrangement applies only to applicable health care decisions, and does not have impact on financial decisions. If you do wish to designate someone to handle your business affairs as well, you should complete a financial power of attorney document.
A health care power of attorney is, of course, a legal document. As such, there are a number of requirements that must be present in order for it to be valid. For further information on how a qualified lawyer can assist you in navigating the various provisions of a health care power of attorney, please contact us. You have a right to determine your own medical treatment, even when you can’t directly speak for yourself.
Bill Hesch is a CPA, PFS (Personal Financial Specialist), and an attorney licensed in Ohio and Kentucky who helps clients with their financial planning. He also practices elder law planning, estate planning, and Medicaid planning in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. His practice area includes Hamilton County, Butler County, Warren County, and Clermont County in Ohio, and Campbell County, Kenton County, and Boone County in Kentucky. Bill will be happy to review your current estate plan and can give you the peace of mind that your health care decisions will be taken care of in case of an emergency situation.