The Benefits of Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney
A Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney is an important document for everyone to have. It’s also sometimes called a Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPOA). The specific reasons for having an HCPOA will change throughout life, but the general idea remains the same. The purpose of an HCPOA is two-fold:
- It allows you to name one or more persons to have access to your medical records.
- It allows you to give someone or several the power to make medical decisions for you when you are not able.
Scenarios that Require a Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney
Consider these scenarios.
- Jared and Mia Part 1: Jared and Mia are engaged. Mia is in a car accident. Mia is alive but unresponsive. The hospital will not be able to give Jared information about Mia’s condition without Mia’s consent. Because Mia is unresponsive, Jared will anxiously wonder what is happening. He won’t be able to do anything until he is able to work through the hospital’s HIPPA requirements. If Mia had an HCPOA naming Jared as her “attorney-in-fact” or “agent,” he would have had access to her medical files. Then the doctors could inform him as to all that is happening. This scenario would be the same with a parent and an adult child.
- Jared and Mia Part 2: Now the hospital wants to attempt procedures that could potentially prolong her life, but Jared knows Mia would not want them done. Unfortunately, Jared has no power to make those decisions for her. If Mia had an HCPOA, Jared would have the power to act as her agent. Then he could make decisions for her medical treatment within any guidelines she had set.
When Can Someone Use HCPOA?
Keep in mind that an HCPOA only comes into play when you cannot make the decisions for yourself. These people will only have these powers if you become incapacitated or unresponsive. As long as you are able to consent or deny informed consent, you will choose what is done medically for yourself. However, should you become incapacitated, this is an extremely useful document.
Contact Tressler & Associates for Help
Remember to update your HCPOA regularly so that the best person is named as your agent. Although we dread to think of the times when this document would be used, in a world of few promises, it is best to be prepared. To learn more about how our attorney can assist you in estate planning, contact us for help.