You may have some familiarity with the term “power of attorney,” but you may not have heard of a medical power of attorney before. This grants someone else the ability to make healthcare decisions for you when you are unable to advocate for yourself. It is a massive responsibility and one that everyone involved needs to take seriously. A Fayetteville, Arkansas power of attorney lawyer can help you sort through the paperwork and choose someone to be in charge of your medical decisions if you were to be incapacitated.
How Do You Assign Medical Power of Attorney?
To assign someone this responsibility, you must fill out a form in the presence of a notary. The person you are granting this power to, the agent, must be named in the first section.
You can also appoint someone as a backup agent in case the first person is unable to perform their duties. Appointing a backup is also a good idea in case the agent you choose is your spouse. In the event of a divorce or separation, they will no longer have your medical power of attorney and your backup agent must be given the power instead.
The form must be signed by you and notarized. This process also requires two witnesses, adults who were not named as the agent, to sign and declare that the person awarding medical power of attorney appeared to be in sound mind at the time of the declaration.
What Can Someone Do With This Power?
That seems like a lot of work, but there is a reason for it. Someone with your medical power of attorney is able to make a variety of important decisions pertaining to your healthcare and what kinds of treatments you will receive if you are ever incapacitated. Your agent will be able to:
- Choose which medical and surgical procedures you receive
- Pick hospitals and other care facilities for you
- Discharge you from the hospital or another facility
- Withdraw life-sustaining treatment
If you are incapacitated, this person is charged with making the best possible medical decisions for you. You can leave some directions or let them know about your wishes, but the decision ultimately comes down to them.
Who Should Designate a Medical Power of Attorney?
Designating an agent is a good idea for anyone who is older or someone who has a disease that is progressing and could one day take their decision-making abilities away from them. However, we think that choosing someone for this important role is a good decision no matter your age or current health status. You do not know if you will ever be incapacitated and in need of a specific directive for who should make your healthcare decisions.
Consult With an Estate Planning Lawyer
If you want to choose someone to have your medical power of attorney, contact the Knapp Law Firm. We can help you with every stage of the estate planning process.