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Healthcare Power of Attorney 101

Why Should I Have A Healthcare Power Of Attorney?

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If you become too sick to make health care decisions, someone must decide for you. If you don't choose who that person is, the state will choose the person on either a temporary or permanent basis under laws generally referred to as Surrogate Consent Laws. Even if the court chooses the same person you would have chosen, the person will be left to his or her own devices unless you've had a conversation about your desires. Without knowing your wishes, it is not likely that someone close to you will authorize termination of unwanted treatment on a timely basis subjecting you to unnecessary treatment and your estate to unnecessary expense.

It is easy to think that if you have a Living Will, you don't need a Healthcare Power of Attorney. The problem with this thinking is that a Living Will describes specific circumstances and what you do or do not want to happen. This can work well in black and white situations. However, medical care is seldom black and white cut and dry. A proxy has the discretion to consider all the then current facts, think about your expressed desires, and make a decision that he or she think you would have wanted made.

Also, without a Healthcare Power Of Attorney there can be unnecssary conflict or confusion among your loved ones as well as with the medical team.


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