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Understanding Medical Powers of Attorney
One of the most important documents in an estate plan is the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, which allows you to nominate a Medical Agent to make decisions on your behalf.
What Is a Medical Agent?
A medical agent (also called a healthcare agent, healthcare surrogate, a healthcare proxy, or a medical proxy) is a person you authorize in a medical power of attorney to make decisions about your medical care if you are too ill to make them yourself or are otherwise unable to communicate your wishes.
Why is it important to choose a medical agent now?
The Covid-19 pandemic has rendered an unusually high number of patients in critical condition, with some on ventilators and under heavy sedation. Although the majority of people who get sick have mild symptoms and recover quickly, since no one knows exactly how they will be affected by the virus, it’s best to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Part of that planning is making sure someone can make healthcare decisions for you if you fall ill and are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
Factors to Consider in Choosing Your Medical Agent
A medical agent is an important role, and the person you choose will have the power to make critical healthcare decisions—like consenting to a treatment plan, whether to accept or refuse medical treatment, and which healthcare providers or hospitals to use for your care. As a result, it is crucial to think carefully about who you choose to fill this role. Many people simply assume that their spouse or their oldest child should take on this role, but they are not always the best suited. Here are some factors to consider when selecting an agent:
Medical directives may be among the most important legal documents you prepare - especially in light of COVID-19. Picking a medical agent can be tricky. If you need help thinking through your options, or if you need help with any other estate planning needs you may have — whether that’s setting up a financial power of attorney, last will and testament, or a trust — please give me a call 208-995-9224 or shoot me an email at email@example.com.