Health care power of attorney: Things you need to know

When it comes to your health, it's important to make the right medical decisions at the right time. Unfortunately, it's possible that you may not always be able to make these decisions for yourself.

A health care power of attorney can make medical decisions easier on both you and your loved ones. This document comes into play if you're incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions on your own.

Here are a few things you need to know about a health care power of attorney:

  • You designate an agent: This is the person you trust to make decisions for you. Since it's such a big responsibility, think carefully about which person you name as your agent.
  • When it takes effect: A health care power of attorney is used if your medical team declares that you don't have the mental capacity to make healthcare decisions for yourself.
  • When it ends: Generally, it comes to an end upon your passing. However, if you want to make changes to this document while living, you have the right to do so. For instance, there may come a point when you want or need to name a new agent.

When you focus on these details regarding a health care power of attorney, you'll find that there are many reasons to create the document and no reasons to avoid it.

When you understand your legal rights and have a clear idea of what a health care power of attorney can do for you, it's much easier to add this document to the estate plan you already have in place.

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