Powers of Attorney for Health Care

A power of attorney for health care allows you to select an agent to make decisions regarding your healthcare decisions in the event that you are unable to make those decisions.  You can designate who determines the disability, when the power of health care becomes effective and when it terminates.

A power of attorney for health care should be utilized by any adult.  Despite the fact that an individual has minimal assets, lives with his or her parents, or is married, a guardianship proceeding will need to take place in the event of incapacity if a power of attorney for health care has not been executed.  Without a power of attorney for health care, a parent cannot even obtain an adult child’s medical records without a guardianship proceeding.  Guardianship is a court procedure where an individual is appointed to handle another person’s finances and/or healthcare.

By planning for disability, guardianship proceedings can be avoided.  Litigation pertaining to guardianship has been on the rise.  Families often disagree on issues such as whether a disabled adult should be kept on life support and decisions pertaining to a diseased individual’s remains.  Guardianship proceedings are very time-consuming, expensive and often cause irreparable damage between family members.