Written by Jonathan Breeden
It can be difficult to think about, and even more difficult to talk to your relatives about, but you need to plan for your later years. Anything can happen in life, and it is helpful for you and your family to have a plan. Your loved ones should know what to do if you become severely ill or incapacitated. One way to prepare for a challenging situation is to draw up a health care power of attorney. This legal document authorizes another person to make medical decisions for you, when you cannot do so yourself. This person becomes your health care agent after a physician or mental health professional determines you cannot make or communicate your own decisions.
Having someone who is prepared to make decisions for you is important when approaching the end of your life and in case of emergencies. However, choosing your health care agent can be stressful. You should carefully consider the best person for the task before formalizing the relationship on paper. Once you are prepared to draft your any estate plans, contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 to schedule an initial case consultation.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing your health care agent:
Who can you talk to about difficult topics?
You are going to need to have some tough conversations with your health care agent. You will need to communicate with them regarding the type of medical services you want or do not want if you become incapacitated. You must discuss whether or not you want your life extended, or when you would refuse life-extending services. You should not choose a family member or friend you cannot talk to you about these issues.
Who do you trust to follow your requests?
Being a health care agent is difficult. That person may be required to set aside their beliefs and preferences to physicians and other medical professionals follow your wishes. You should choose someone you trust to follow your wishes.
Who can handle the stress?
If you have become mentally or physically incapacitated due to an accident or mental condition, this will be a difficult time for your friends and family. Keep this in mind when drafting a health care power of attorney. Everyone handles stress differently, and you need a health care agent who is prepared to handle the difficulties of your situation.
Who is not intimidated by physicians and hospitals?
Everyone reacts differently to hospitals and physicians. You should not choose a health care agent who is uncomfortable in medical environments and has a difficult time conversing with doctors and nurses. You will need someone who is not intimidated when it comes to working with medical professionals. Your health care agent may need to ask tough questions, challenge a doctor’s opinion or conduct, and fight hard for what you would want.
Who is organized and pays attention to details?
Medical care can get complicated quickly. Depending on your condition, you could be receiving numerous drugs and services. It is helpful if your medical care agent is organized and keeps track of your medications and services. Attention to detail can help prevent errors like dangerous drug interactions.
Who is willing?
Your choice of a health care agent should not be a surprise to your family and friends. You should not pick someone without talking to them about your preferences and asking if they are willing to do this for you. You should not force someone into this position.
Deciding whether or not to create a health care power of attorney and who to choose can be difficult. It may be helpful to talk through your decision with an experienced attorney. Do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with Breeden Law Office. We can guide you through your estate planning options, and when you are ready, we can formalize your wishes.
Contact us online or call (919) 661-4970 to schedule a time to talk.