Every so often a story grabs a national headline in the news about a situation in which a person has been critically injured, leaving the person on life-support in the hospital. And at the heart of the story is a fight between the person’s family members and loved ones about what medical treatment, if any, the injured person should receive. The person has been so badly injured that she cannot speak for herself on the matter. Some family members think the person should be kept on life-support; other family members believe that had the injured person been able to make her own decisions, she would have chosen to be taken off life-support.
These unimaginable situations are difficult to think about. But doing so, and planning ahead, can help avoid or mitigate heart-wrenching disputes like the ones that appear in the news. Health care directives, like a Medical Power of Attorney, are tools used to avoid uncertainty in the event that you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
A Medical Power of Attorney (or durable power of attorney of health care) is a written document that gives decision-making authority regarding your health care to a trusted person who will make decisions for you if you are injured or too ill to make decisions on your own. The person who will make decisions for you is called your agent. Typically, your agent does not have authority to make decisions so long as you are capable of responsibly making them for yourself. In the event you become unable, the agent’s authority “springs” into effect, and the agent can make decisions for you. To enable agents to make proper decisions, agents typically have the authority to do things like meet and consult with the principal’s doctors, conduct a review of medical records, consent to surgery, or instruct obedience with a Living Will.
Giordano & Heckele, PLLC can help you work through difficult estate planning issues to give you the peace of mind you deserve, including preparation and execution of a Medical Power of Attorney in Arizona. Call today for a consultation: (520) 433-9031. Or email us at [email protected]