As part of your comprehensive estate plan, you signed a Healthcare Power of Attorney to designate a trusted agent to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated in some way. Having this document has given you peace of mind, knowing that someone who knows and loves you will make important decisions about life-saving treatment or end-of-life care that are in line with your own wishes. But how do you know this document will be accepted by the hospital, clinic, or nursing home where you are admitted? We offer some tips for making sure your Healthcare Power of Attorney will be recognized when it is needed.
Tip 1: Work With an Attorney
Your doctor may have given you a Medical Power of Attorney form at some point, or you might have downloaded one from the internet. If you follow the instructions provided on the forms, the resulting document should be legally binding, but do you want to risk it? Your best bet is to work with an attorney to designate both Healthcare and Financial Powers of Attorney. This way, you can be confident that the document is valid under Texas law, includes the required HIPAA release, is signed by all required parties and witnesses, and that your lawyer has a copy in case a conflict arises at the hospital.
In addition to working with an attorney, you can ensure that the document is available when it is needed and that your designated agent is known to others before a medical crisis by giving copies to the following:
- Your appointed agent
- Your spouse and adult children
- Your primary care doctor
- Your local or preferred hospital
- Your nursing home or assisted living facility
It is also important that you make your healthcare wishes knows not only to your agent but to other family members as well so that they are less likely to interfere in your agent’s decisions. It is not easy to discuss these kinds of issues, but doing so will ensure that your wishes are honored and protect your family from conflicts at what is already a difficult time.
Contact Ross & Shoalmire to Discuss Powers of Attorney and Other Issues
Our Elder Law attorneys are committed to helping people protect not only their property and assets but their wishes and dignity at difficult times in life. A legally binding Healthcare Power of Attorney is one important tool for accomplishing this goal. If you have questions about whether your current form is valid or want to draft a document with a professional, contact our office today.