Have you ever wondered who will make your health and lifestyle decisions for you if you become unable to do so? Read this article to know more.
Life can be pretty unpredictable. Unfortunate things happen all the time. We may fall sick or become unable to make our lifestyle and health decisions for ourselves. And when this happens, you always need someone to be by your side; otherwise, you have to bear unnecessary hassle or, worse, suffer all alone. Hence, it is best to prepare yourself for unwanted situations like these. So how do you do it? The answer: appoint someone legally who can make these decisions for you when you can’t. This is where a power of attorney comes into play. By the end of this article, you will know how to give power of attorney to someone, how it works, and also, how to get power of attorney for an elderly parent.
What is Healthcare and Lifestyle Power of Attorney?
Any power of attorney is basically a legal document giving an agent or a family member the power to make decisions on their behalf. Healthcare and lifestyle power of attorney is when you give legal authorization to someone to decide and act on your behalf in your lifestyle and health-related matters.
Why Should You Consider It?
There are several reasons why you should have a healthcare power of attorney. Some reasons are stated below.
For A Better Life
How will you feel if you are extremely sick and in no position to make treatment decisions for yourself? Maybe you cannot speak, move, or even consciously think! This sounds terrible, but this is quite a common phenomenon, especially in old age. Someone can get into a serious accident, become terminally ill, or even get into a coma. In situations like these, you would be glad that you have given someone a power of attorney over you because this person will always be there to communicate with doctors and make treatment decisions.
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For Better Death
Death is inevitable. And when you die, you will not know what arrangements are being made for you. Maybe you have a last wish but don’t know how to execute it or if it will be performed after you pass away. Having a healthcare power of attorney ensures that your wishes are fulfilled legally. It is always a comfort to know that someone will work to make your wishes come true when you are not there anymore.
Having a healthcare power of attorney is a wonderful way of loving and caring for yourself. It shows that you are planning for your health and situations after death.
Who Should You Choose?
At this point, you might be wondering who you should choose for giving your power of attorney. You have the full freedom to choose anyone you want. It can be your parents, partner, children, friend, or even an agent. However, we strongly suggest looking for certain qualities while choosing your healthcare power of attorney.
This is the most important thing while choosing your healthcare power of attorney. This is a huge responsibility and power you give to a person. This person has the power to make or break your life. See if that person is responsible enough and can follow through with your demands and wishes. This has to be a person you can count on and trust with your life.
It is always a good idea to choose someone who lives nearby and also near a hospital. This will make it easier for them to make prompt decisions for you in case of an emergency. If you choose someone who lives in a different state or city, the process might not be feasible. So consider where your power of attorney lives.
Has Some Understanding of Medical Processes
No, this doesn’t mean that your power of attorney has to be a trained medical professional. But they must have some basic knowledge about medical processes. They have to know what questions to ask the doctor and what processes to follow, especially medical tests, prognosis, procedures, and other medical interventions. A person with no knowledge about these things may fail to make the right medical decisions for you.
Can Be Assertive
Can the person you are giving your power of attorney work well under pressure? Are they independent and assertive? These are essential questions you should think about. Sadly, many people try to take advantage of our situation when we fall sick. A passive power of attorney is more likely to be influenced by others’ opinions and make wrong decisions for you. So be extra careful regarding this. Choose someone who will not back down from supporting you and your family in grave times.
Has Good Communication Ability
Does the person you want to give power of attorney have good communication skills? Do they stay calm and can talk fluently and efficiently in adverse situations? Can they convey your wishes to your family and your doctor properly? You want to observe their speech patterns in different situations. Make sure they can talk precisely and communicate effectively.
Has Willingness to Serve
Your potential power of attorney has to have the mentality to serve. Only then can they help you. Their task is not easy; it is stressful and hectic. So if they don’t have the willingness to serve, the whole experience can be overwhelming for them. So sit down with them and ask them to be honest about if they feel like they can responsibly serve you.
Now that you have chosen your healthcare power of attorney, let’s see how it is done. You will get a form from your lawyer where you list down the names of your potential power of attorney and any requirements you have.
Some states, such as Indiana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin, do not permit a universal power-of-attorney form. A state-specific form is needed instead to appoint your power of attorney.
Some states also require that a witness is present if you are in a healthcare facility. A general power of attorney form will require you to fill up your full name, date of birth, and identification, and your potential power of attorney’s information. It is also a good idea to include two backup agents’ information if the main agent is unavailable. In states like Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia, the form must be notarized. A power of attorney is in effect as soon as the paperwork is signed.
Getting Power of Attorney For a Parent
You can always ask your elderly parents if they want to give you their power of attorney. However, this can only be done by them, and they have the freedom to give the power to whoever they want to. This has to be done as long as they are in good health.
Getting yourself a healthcare and lifestyle power of attorney ensures some sort of certainty in your life when things go wrong. So it is always wise to plan and prepare. Choose your power of attorney wisely and live a hassle-free life.