There is so much more to estate planning than bequeathing your financial assets, real estate, and treasured possessions to those you love. Although distributing your property to friends and family members is important, wills and trusts are just one component of a comprehensive estate plan. Another essential element is a Medical Power of Attorney. Charley Johnson, an estate planning attorney from The Law Offices of Charley Johnson in Centerville, TX, explains why everyone should create this critical document.
What Is It?
A Medical Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants an individual, or individuals, the authority to make medical decisions regarding you health care on your behalf. This document is essential if you ever become incapacitated and are unable to make such decisions for yourself. You will be able make your own medical decisions as long as you are able, the Medical Power of Attorney is used only in the event that you are incapacitated and/or unable to make your own medical decisions.
A Medical Power of Attorney is typically accompanied by a Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates, also called a living will, which states, in clear terms, your preferences if, in the judgment of your physician, you are suffering from a terminal condition, from which you are expected to die within six months, or, if in the judgment of your physician, you are suffering with an irreversible condition and are expected to die without life-sustaining treatment. In the Directive you choose whether you want to be kept alive using available life sustaining treatment, or request that all treatments, other than those needed to keep you comfortable, be discontinued or withheld and be allowed to die as gently as possible.
Why Do You Need One?
If you do not have a Medical Power of Attorney and you sustain debilitating injuries that prevent you from making your own medical decisions, the choices could be left up to an estranged family member, a doctor, or even a judge. Sadly, you cannot expect any one of these individuals to know what you truly want when it comes to your end-of-life care. I recommend that you create a Medical Power of Attorney as soon as possible along with other critical estate planning documents such as a Directive to Physicians, HIPPA Release, a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, and of course a Will.
If you want to create a Medical Power of Attorney or any other estate planning document to ensure health care providers respect all of your wishes following a catastrophic accident or illness, please contact The Law Offices of Charley Johnson for assistance. Their compassionate team is well-versed in everything related to estate planning, including advance directives and probate law. To learn more about the firm’s broad range of practice areas, check out their website, and call (903) 536-2185 to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney.