You may have heard of a medical power of attorney. It is one of several advance health care directives, along with a living will, that will assist physicians and your caregivers if you become terminally ill, have a medical emergency, or are the victim of a tragic accident. Like many people, the concept of a medical power of attorney or a living will may conjure up unwelcome and unsettling images of a loved one lying in a hospital bed being kept alive by machines after a serious medical emergency or illness. Difficult life and death decisions need to be made quickly and often the most important question a medical professional will want answered is “who’s legally authorized to make these decisions?” Time is of the essence so why leave it up to chance, a guess, a disgruntled ex, or bickering relatives to decide something so critically important? This is where planningahead – by completing a legal document that allows you to (a) select the person you most trust to make healthcare decisions for you if you become incapacitated and (b) direct that person as to what kind and level of care you wish to have –can bring much needed peace of mind and clarity to a difficult and stressful situation. Today, preparing a medical power of attorneyor living will is quick and easy, as is ensuring these documents are maintained in a safe but easily accessible location. Sadly, not everyone will take advantage of this tool, thinking “I’ll get to it tomorrow, or next month, or next year, or”…until it is too late.
WHO NEEDS A MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY?
Advance directives like medical powers of attorney or living wills are not just for the elderly or terminally ill patients. They are essential legal documents for anyone, including young adults, students traveling abroad, immigrants, etc.
By way of example. Imagine you are a parent preparing for your child to leave for college. Whether she is moving across the state, across the country, or just down the street, this will be an exciting, stressful, and uncertain time. With so much to plan and so much to get done, it is easy to ignore or forget that you need to plan for emergencies. For instance, what if your child becomes incapacitated due to a serious illness or accident, or he is the victim of a crime or a prank gone wrong and is unable to make medical decisions on his own. A medical power of attorney and living will can ensure that medical professionals recognize your authority to act as your child’s agent so that the right medical decisions for your childcan be made quickly.
If you and your significant other are not married, what legal protections are in place in case of a terminal illness, accident, or other medical emergency? With a medical power of attorney, your partner can designate you to act as her agent and can authorize you to legally make any and all important medical decisions regarding her care. With the medical power of attorney and a living will, you can have comfort and peace of mind knowing your loved one will be following your wishes regarding end-of-life medical decisions. Without these documents, the most important health care decisions, regardless of your wishes, will be made by someone else.
Are you an immigrant or traveling or working in the United States under a visa? Who would you want to be responsible for making health care decisions on your behalf in the event that you are injured in an accident, have a medical emergency, or cannot make those decisions yourself? Does that person know what your wishes are in the event that decisions about life-saving measures need to be made? Where will you safely and securely store the legal documents needed in case of a medical emergency? Not planning ahead by preparing a medical power of attorney or advance health care directive may leave you and your loved ones fighting an uphill legal battle during an already stressful time.
CLOCR provides an easy, secure and safe way to store digital copies of your medical power of attorney, living will, and other advance directives. CLOCR also offers different ways to create, store, manage, and publish these documents. It gives you total control over who can see and access the records. Don’t put this off until it is too late! Set up and storeyour advance directives now and enjoy the peace of mind that will follow.