A permanent power of attorney for health care is a document that allows you (the principal) to appoint another person (the de facto attorney) to make certain medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them yourself. The person you choose as your de facto attorney does not have to be a lawyer. A medical power of attorney or health care proxy designates a person to make medical decisions for you when they no longer have the ability to do so. The person you choose to make health care decisions on your behalf when you can't is known as your agent.
A health care power of attorney (HCPA) is a legal document that allows one person to empower another person to make decisions about their health care. A health care power of attorney refers to both a legal document and a specific person with legal authority. A medical power of attorney is a legal document that names one person as another person's health care agent. The agent has the ability to make health care decisions and the responsibility to ensure that doctors and other medical personnel provide necessary and appropriate care according to the patient's wishes.
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives the person you choose the power to act instead. In case you ever feel mentally incapacitated, you will need what are known as durable powers of attorney for health care and finance. A permanent power of attorney (DPOA) simply means that the document remains in effect if you become incapacitated and cannot handle matters on your own. Ordinary or non-durable powers of attorney automatically end if the person making them loses mental capacity.
The Five Wishes Advance Directive, produced by Aging with Dignity, is designed to provide broad guidance on a wide range of personal and end-of-life health issues. Unlike a regular power of attorney, which is not durable, a medical power of attorney is always a durable power of attorney. For more information on preparing documents to direct your health care, see the Nolo Collection of Articles on Health Care Directives. As such, a medical power of attorney may include provisions for a wide range of medical actions, including managing personal care, hiring a personal care assistant, deciding on medical treatment, and making decisions about medical treatments in general.
If you have specific wishes about your health care, a permanent power of attorney for health care will ensure that those wishes are met even if you cannot physically or mentally tell your doctors what you want. The living will details the type of treatment the patient wants and does not want, and the power of attorney gives the authority to make decisions that fall outside the scope of the living will. An essential element of your estate plan, a health care power of attorney comes into effect when you are temporarily disabled, but requirements vary by state. Some financial powers of attorney are very simple and are used for individual transactions, such as closing a real estate deal.
A unique feature of the new form is that it meets state statutory requirements for a valid power of attorney for health care in almost every state. The power of attorney for health care plays a vital role both during periodic and end-of-life illnesses. The difference is that a power of attorney manages someone's affairs while they are still alive, while an executor of a will manages someone's affairs after their death. A permanent medical power of attorney is a type of health care directive, that is, a document that states your wishes for health care if you are ever too sick or injured to speak for yourself.
The medical power of attorney will only come into effect when you do not have the capacity to make decisions for yourself regarding medical treatment. A medical power of attorney authorizes a designated person to make health care decisions on your behalf, while a financial power of attorney allows an authorized person to oversee your finances if necessary. By using a medical power of attorney, you get peace of mind that someone you trust will be able to step in and make vital healthcare decisions for you if you can't make those decisions yourself. .