There are a number of issues to settle when coming up with plans for an estate. It’s not just about drafting a will or creating a letter of intent that ensures certain belongings or assets are passed on to the right people. It’s also about preparing for the possibility of still being alive but not in a position to make important decisions. The latter is the main reason that an Estate Planning Attorney will want to talk with the client about the drafting of a healthcare power of attorney.
What is a Healthcare Power of Attorney?
This particular legal document identifies a person who is empowered to make medical decisions for the client if the need arises. Typically, this means approving a course of treatment when the client’s physical or mental health is compromised to the point that making rational decisions is out of the question. Instead of speculating about what needs to be done, the selected party can authorize any procedure required and make decisions in accordance with the preferences the client previously expressed.
For example, the person empowered by this document can authorize what could turn out to be life-saving surgery in the event the client is unconscious and cannot provide consent. Instead of spending hours attempting to obtain legal permission from a court or find a next of kin, all it takes is the permission of the individual named in the power of attorney. The amount of time saved could mean the difference between life and death.
A Loved One Who Serves as the Gatekeeper
In a sense, the person empowered to act under the terms of this document serves as a gatekeeper. Others may think they know what’s best, but the individual with the power of attorney has the final say. A conscientious individual will provide permission for any treatment that is in the best interests of the client.
Now is the time to talk with an Estate Planning Attorney about this and other key documents. It won’t take long to determine what needs to be put in place immediately and how other measures can be taken as time goes on.