Most people think of estate planning and wills, but there are other elements that can assist the individual during times of need while still living. A medical power of attorney is one such element of a complete estate plan that an individual in California can utilize to assist him or her while alive and in need of extra support. The medical POA enables the individual to assign a person to make medical decisions on his or her behalf if he or she is incapacitated.
A medical power of attorney differs from a living will in that the medical POA may act on the person’s behalf any time the person is incapacitated instead of just at the end of life. By appointing a medical POA, the individual can prevent family members from having to make difficult decisions and disagreeing about treatments. The individual will tell the designated person about his or her wishes, and then the POA will take action when the right time arrives.
The right person to hold this position will be someone whom the individual can trust. Individuals should be confident in their POA’s ability to understand and follow the outlined plans for when they are ill and unable to advocate for themselves. When a person is at the end of life, or has a chronic illness, one can be appointed, but the incidence of sudden illness at any time of life makes a medical power of attorney useful at any stage.
Planning for the end of life and for unexpected health issues can be stressful, but any planning that is undertaken in the present will help prevent future confusion and sorrow. In California, it can be much easier to make the hard decisions ahead of time and turn them into concrete plans for a medical power of attorney to follow. Many people seek out the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney for these types of plans and designations.
Source: ocregister.com, “Medical power of attorney: What is it, and who needs one?“, Amy Osmond Cook, May 22, 2018