Health Care Power of Attorney
- Today we're going to discuss health care power of attorneys, what they are and why you need one.
Welcome to a cold Two Minute Tuesday here in Oklahoma, where I attempt to discuss an estate planning topic in two minutes or less.
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In our last video, we discussed the importance of incapacity planning. And that along with an estate plan, you need to have a, at a minimum, a durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney, HIPAA authorizations, and a living will which is sometimes also called an advanced directive. Today we are going to discuss why you need a health care power of attorney.
Now before I get started, I should note that this is not the same thing as a durable power of attorney which only covers your finances. To learn more about a durable power of attorney, click on the link that should be appearing up here in a second. Now, health care power of attorney works like a durable power of attorney except that it only pertains to your health care.
So if you become legally incapacitated, then you won't be able to make health care decisions for yourself. And due to patient privacy laws, your loved ones could be denied access to medical information during an emergency situation. If you are in a persistent vegetative state, then your family could end up in court fighting over what medical treatment you should or should not receive. Probably the most famous case is the Terri Schiavo case.
In that case, her parents and her husband fought for years over what treatment she should and should not receive. Now a health care power of attorney gives someone that you trust the authority to make all health care decisions and end-of-life decisions on your behalf. We like to draft our health care power of attorney in conjunction with an advanced directive or a living will so that your health care agent has very specific instructions on how you want to be cared for.
Think of it as providing an instruction manual for your specific health care in the event that you are not able to make those decisions for yourself. Your health care agent can communicate directly with doctors and medical staff on your behalf, possibly avoiding unwanted or even unnecessary treatment.
Think about that for a second. If you can make health care decisions ahead of time for yourself, then your health care agent just needs to follow your directions. That is a huge gift for your family by making those decisions for them ahead of time and not putting a heavy burden on them.
As with all of your estate planning documents, you want to make certain that your health care documents are up to date. They will not do you any good if the person you named as your trusted agent is no longer living in Oklahoma, or has actually passed away.
Well, that's all for today, not sure if I made it under the two minutes on this very cold day, but if you enjoyed this video, then please like it below, and please hit the Subscribe button, or click on my face that should be appearing up here right now, so you'll get our new videos every Tuesday. We appreciate you watching, and we'll see you next time. Thanks again.