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Why it is important to have a health care power of attorney

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2021 | Estate Planning

There are many different healthcare decisions that people in Virginia need to make during their lives. People will generally speak with medical professionals to determine what may be wrong and potential treatment plans before making the decisions, but ultimately the final decision is up to the individual. However, people can only do this is they are awake and coherent enough to make those decisions.

Sudden accidents can occur and without warning people suffer injuries which may incapacitate them. They could be in a coma or otherwise unable to speak or make decisions for themselves. This leaves their care at the discretion of the medical professionals. If coherent, the person may object to certain procedures, medications or other treatment. That is why it is important for people to have what is called a health care power of attorney.

Powers of a health care power of attorney

A health care power of attorney allows people to appoint an individual to make their medical decisions in situations when they are incapacitated. People can also state their specific wishes for certain situations such as whether they want to be placed on machines that keep them alive if there is no hope for recovery from the injury or illness. It also allows them to accept or deny certain life saving procedures as well as whether they would simply prefer medications to ensure they are not in pain.

Life is unpredictable and can be in unexpected accidents which completely change their lives. It is important that they have their medical wishes known ahead of time because after a catastrophic accident it may be too late and they will be unable to make their own decisions. For that reason, health care power of attorneys are very important documents to have in one’s estate plan. However, to be valid they must meet certain requirements. Experienced attorneys understand the technical requirements of these documents and may be able to help guide one through an estate plan.