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What should I look for in a power of attorney?

When it comes to medical decisions, autonomy is a must. However, should you be suddenly incapacitated by illness or injury, you may be unable to make your desires regarding health care known. Even if you have a document in place that states your wishes, it might still be disputed by your family. That’s why it’s so important to choose a power of attorney, which is a person who will serve as your advocate when it comes to decisions regarding care. Forbes explains what you should look for when making this crucial estate planning decision. 

A power of attorney must be assertive

Talking with medical staff can be intimidating. Your power of attorney should feel comfortable doing so, even if that means questioning the medical staff’s decisions regarding end of life care. It can be just as tough dealing with family members, who naturally want to do everything in their power to keep you around. The person you pick must be assertive so that he or she can ensure you receive the care you desire.

The person should be able to make decisions quickly

Consider how hectic an emergency medical situation will likely be. This is the situation your power of attorney will be faced with, and it’s important for your choice to be able to make decisions regarding care in a fast-paced environment. In this case, it helps to choose someone with an understanding of medicine and related terminology. That way they’ll have the tools they need to deal with a constantly changing situation. 

A power of attorney can’t let emotions get in the way

While most people choose loved ones for this role, it’s important to pick a person who isn’t going to let their emotions rule their decisions. If you opt for minimal care when it comes to life-saving procedures, you must rest assured that your selection will follow through, even if that means forgoing certain treatments. This can be quite difficult when a person has a strong emotional attachment to you, particularly when the person is a spouse. In this case, you may want to choose multiple people, who will confer on care and make the best possible decisions.