Choosing Your Medical Power of Attorney

Estate Planning Lawyer

What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?

A medical power of attorney is a document that names an individual that you would like to make tough medical decisions on your behalf when you’re unable to do so. For example, maybe you are in a coma and unable to decide if you want to stay on life support. Maybe there was a complication during your surgery, and you are unable to make decisions because you’re under anesthesia. These situations make it impossible for you to decide what should happen regarding your health, but if you’ve discussed your wishes with your medical power of attorney, he or she should have no problem letting the doctors know what you would like to have happen.

Does a Medical POA or a Living Will Take Precedence?

If you have both a medical POA and a living will, keep in mind that the living will takes precedence over your designation of a medical POA. For example, if you are in an accident and have been put on life support, your medical power of attorney might claim that you would want to be left on life support for at least three months. In your living will, it might state that you would only want to be on life support for one week. Your doctors would be obligated to follow the one week as outlined in your living will. This is why it’s important that you know what you want and that you document it correctly.

Who Should I Choose as My Medical POA?

When deciding on your medical POA, you really need to consider who you would trust with your life. The types of decisions that the individual would be making on your behalf are critical for your wellbeing. Think of someone who would be considerate of your quality of life while also considering the risks or likelihood that you would pull through or recover from your particular health crisis. It might benefit you to choose someone close to you who would have your best interest in mind, but that might also pose a problem because he or she may want to keep you around longer simply for selfish reasons.

Contacting Your Lawyer

An estate planning lawyer could be essential in helping you choose a medical POA. If you’re unsure where to turn, you could consider making contact with an estate planning lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ, from a firm like The Law Office of Wade Suthard, P.C., who may be able to assist you.