Estate planning often starts with writing a will and determining how to give away your assets. You want to pass the things that you own on to your children or other beneficiaries, such as close family friends.
But this isn’t all that estate planning can do. It’s just the mere beginning. You could also add something like a medical power of attorney, often called a healthcare power of attorney, which is an important document that can influence your medical care in the future. Let’s look at why this is such a critical part of any estate plan.
Someone to make your decisions
What a medical power of attorney does is that it chooses an agent to make decisions for you. This agent is given legal power to make choices about your healthcare or the medical procedures that are carried out. They would ordinarily not be able to make these decisions on your behalf.
The benefit of having this in place is that you could become incapacitated for some reason, meaning you cannot make your own decisions or communicate with the medical team. This can put your family in a very difficult position. But having a medical power of attorney on file means that the agent has already been selected and understands what you would want, so they can seamlessly make the decisions that are in your best interests.
It may also be important to have a medical power of attorney so that you know who is making end-of-life decisions for you, such as whether or not to keep you on life support. This is a difficult topic to think about, but it’s even harder for family members to try to make these decisions with no guidance. It can be very stressful when they don’t agree on what should be done. A medical power of attorney helps reduce this stress because the agent alone makes the decision – and, again, they should know what you would have wanted.
If you are setting up your estate plan, make sure you carefully consider all of the options you have, which may include adding a medical power of attorney.