FAQs About Medical Power of Attorney

Estate Planning

Most people don’t like to think about what might happen to them if they become incapacitated or unable to care for themselves. Common conditions that lead to these circumstances include:

  • Coma
  • Psychiatric Problems
  • Dementia

Still, having someone around who can make hard decisions about your care can be invaluable. Here are some common questions that people often ask before selecting a medical power of attorney.

Do I Still Need a Living Will?

Although you may have great faith in the person you choose to make decisions about your medical care, this doesn’t mean that you can’t express your wishes. While you are still able, consider creating a living will with specific instructions that the person you designate to be your power of attorney can follow.

Whom Should I Select?

Most people choose a close family member or friend to fill this role. You want to select someone who knows you well enough to communicate your wishes and who has the maturity to make decisions in your best interest.

When Should Someone Begin Making Decisions For Me?

It is best to designate someone to be your medical power of attorney before you are incapacitated. If your medical condition declines, a member of your medical team will usually determine that you are no longer able to make vital decisions concerning your care.

What If the Person I Select Is No Longer Available?

It is a good idea to name a second or even a third person who can become your medical power of attorney if your first choice is unable or unwilling to fill the role. For example, if a spouse is named but he or she predeceases you, an adult child can step in. If your child moves away and relinquishes the position, your sibling might take over.

What If My Illness Is Terminal?

As long as your mind and thinking are sound and you fully understand your treatment circumstances, there is nothing to prevent you from continuing to make your own decisions, whether or not you name someone to be your medical power of attorney. Having a medical power of attorney does not prevent you from making decisions about your medical care as long as you can do so.

Planning for the future is something that adults at every stage of life should carefully consider. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can advise you about which measures to take for the future well-being of you and your family.