What is Healthcare Power of Attorney?

It is important to understand the difference between a Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney.

A Healthcare Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to name a person who can act on your behalf to make healthcare decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself. Unlike a Living Will, it is not limited to times in which you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious. An example of this would be following a car accident.

The Healthcare Power of Attorney also allows you to nominate a guardian to your person and a guardian to your estate. Your nomination is not a guarantee of guardianship, but will be taken into account if the issue is ever brought to Probate Court.

If you have a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will, healthcare workers must follow the wishes in your Living Will once it becomes active. In other words, the Living Will takes precedence over the Healthcare Power of Attorney.

A Healthcare Power of Attorney is different than a Financial Power of Attorney as it only addresses issues related to healthcare.

The person you name as Healthcare Power of Attorney – by completing the Healthcare Power of Attorney form – has the power to authorize and refuse medical treatment for you. This authority is recognized in all medical situations where you are unable to speak for yourself. You can complete the forms to assign a Healthcare Power of Attorney on your own. It is essential that you communicate this information to your family so they know who to turn to should the time come to implement the Healthcare Power of Attorney.

Access the documents that allow you to assign a Healthcare Power of Attorney.