What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?

power of attorney

Though it is difficult to think about, you must prepare for a future scenario where you may become unable to act for yourself. Generally speaking, this may be accomplished by incorporating a power of attorney in your estate plan. Continue reading to learn about a medical power of attorney and how one of the experienced Putnam County powers of attorney lawyers at the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC can help you in establishing this.

What is a power of attorney?

In general, a power of attorney is a type of legal authorization in which you designate an individual whom you trust to have the power to act on your behalf. And you may need this individual to act for you if you become incur an illness, incur a disability, or otherwise become unable to communicate. And when it comes to a power of attorney, you are referred to as the principal, while the trusted individual is known as the agent.

Often, a power of attorney is helpful if you are unavailable to pay your bills or otherwise sign necessary legal documents for financial transactions. And if you specify as such, you may be able to designate more than one agent. This is if you want different agents to handle different decisions regarding your property, finances, or medical care.

What is a medical power of attorney in New York State?

More specifically, you may draft a medical power of attorney in New York State. As you may likely assume, this permits you to appoint an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. But in addition, this allows your agent to discuss your protected healthcare information with your healthcare provider. This is so long as such discussions are in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPAA.

Overall, the most common use of a medical power of attorney is for a principal to express their specific healthcare wishes for their agent to follow in an end-of-life situation. For example, a principal may direct an agent on whether or not they wish to receive life-sustaining treatment in the unfortunate event that they incur a terminal condition or go into a vegetative state.

What qualifications should I look for in the agent of my medical power of attorney?

It may seem like an obvious choice to designate your spouse as the agent of your medical power of attorney. However, if they, unfortunately, become incapacitated or pass on before you, then you need to designate a successor.  For this, you may want to look for the following qualifications:

  • Your agent is geographically close enough to meet your healthcare provider in person when necessary.
  • Your agent has openly expressed their willingness to take on this responsibility.
  • Your agent is generally agreeable to your healthcare wishes.

If you are ready and willing to kickstart your medical power of attorney, then you must employ a skilled Putnam County estate planning attorney today. We look forward to working alongside you.

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