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What is a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney?

Life comes with unexpected twists and turns which is why it is crucial that you plan for the unknown. For example, you may experience a medical emergency where you cannot make your own health care decisions. For most people, they want to decide who will make these choices for them and designate an agent through a durable health care power of attorney. If you do not designate an agent, the law will appoint an agent according to default surrogate consent laws. If you want to take control and bypass these laws, you should know your options before you put your wishes down on paper. 

What does a healthcare agent do?

A health care agent is a person you can designate to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. You can grant them the power to choose where you will receive care and the kind of care you will receive. They can decline the position if they are unwilling or unavailable and designating an alternative can help to avoid any complications.

What can I include in my directive?

You have the option to express your wishes related to your care within the document. Such wishes can include the quality of life you wish to have. Consider the fact that there may be medical advancements in the future and not allowing for flexibility may not be in your best interest. Keep in mind that failure to include instructions in this document may mean that your wishes will not be followed. If you choose to include wishes, it may be wise to consult with medical and legal professionals to ensure that they are reasonable and are legally valid.

When it comes time to making tough calls, your agent will be the one behind the scenes. You can take control and plan for the unknown by executing a durable health care power of attorney to decide who that will be. If you do not want to leave your health up to chance, it may be time to start the process of executing one.

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