Health Care POA

Health Care Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney (POA) is called an “Advance Health Care Directive”.

This document gives your named “agent” the legal authority to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated and unable to make sound health care decisions.

Of course, you are also giving your agent specific instructions to consider in deciding what medical decisions are to be made.  For example, do you wish to be buried or cremated?  Do you want to donate any needed body parts?  Do you want any “heroic measures” to be taken to keep you alive, even if you are in a permanent coma (or vegetative state) and, to a medical certainty, will not recover. These are just some examples of the wishes you may state in your health care power of attorney.  You may be as general or specific as you wish.

When completed, the document can either be witnessed by two individuals or notarized.  There are certain persons who are disqualified to act as witnesses, so the better decision would generally be to have your signature notarized.

It is important to deliver copies of your power of attorney to all of your doctors and medical facilities.  The time that you will need the document is when you are incapacitated, and it does you no good if your doctors do not have a copy.

Also, be sure to inform your agent that you have selected him/her, so that they are comfortable in accepting the responsibility.  They, too, should have a copy of your Advance Health Care Directive