If you or a loved one needs to be protected in the instance that you or they need medical care when they cannot make their own decisions. The medical power of attorney form can mean the difference between getting the medical care that you need and not being able to access the care that you need. It can be very hard to consider writing a healthcare power of attorney when you are still healthy or in the instance that you are in a coma, but this is always a good idea if you want to be sure that someone can help guide your healthcare if you are not able to make your own decisions.

When writing a medical power of attorney, you will need to be sure that you have all the right information in the document so that it can be used for this purpose. Thinking that you will have access to the medical care support that you need, only to be unable to vouch for yourself and create a new medical power of attorney, can be a big problem. You need to know how to make this document correctly so that you can count on its use in the future.

Medical Power Of Attorney
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Medical Power Of Attorney Forms

What is a medical power of attorney?

A medical power of attorney (MPOA) is a form that allows you to grant temporary medical power of attorney or long-term MPOA rights to an agent of your choice. The agent whom you have named can only act on your behalf if there is a medical situation that has led to you being unable to make your own choices to guide your healthcare. The agent that you have named will be able to make all your medical decisions while you are unable to speak for yourself. This is an important role and one that you need to be sure that you are granting this power to the right person. Your named agent does not have to be related to you, and they do not have to be a spouse.

There are some other names that this form can go by:

  • Healthcare Power of Attorney
  • Healthcare POA
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Healthcare Proxy

You can use any of these names for the form that you make, and you will not impact the use of this form. These are just different names for the same thing, which can be used interchangeably.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

How to get a medical power of attorney

Many MPOA documents are actually printable medical power of attorney forms. This means that you can usually just print out a blank form and fill it out. There can be advantages to using a premade form, and you might want to lean this way if you are not confident in your ability to write your own form. This is a form that you need to make sure is written correctly so that it can be used when the need arises.

You might want to make sure that you take the form that you have written by yourself to a lawyer to be sure that it is written correctly. You cannot afford not to have the protection of this form when you need it, so making sure that you have written the form properly is important.

How to become a medical power of attorney

To become a medical power of attorney, you will just need to be named as the agent in someone’s MPOA form. You could actually be named in this document by anyone, not just family. Make sure that you are comfortable with providing the support that an MPOA requires. You will need to be able to make all the medical choices for this person if they are not able to decide anything for themselves.

This can be a really tough task to undertake, and not everyone is comfortable with undertaking this task for someone. The named person will have some limits to their authority in some cases, but almost every Medical Power of Attorney form will require that the person who is named as the agent needs to make all medical choices for the person who wrote the form.

How to pick a medical power of attorney

The first thing that you need to do is choose an agent. These are the things that you need to think about when selecting this person:

  • They are trustworthy
  • They know you well enough to make important medical choices for you
  • Emotionally capable of this kind of job
  • Willing to undertake the role
  • Available when needed, even without notice

Once you have someone in mind who can fill this need for you, you will need to move on to creating an MPOA that includes all the right information to be useful.

Medical Power of Attorney Templates

What does a medical power of attorney allow the agent to do?

The MPOA will usually be able to provide the following support for the person who has created the document. These decisions can be limited by the choice of the person making the document, but most of the MPOA documents that are filled out will allow the agent to undertake all of the different decisions in the following list.

  1. Life Support
  2. Tube Feeding
  3. CPR
  4. Medical Research
  5. Admittance to healthcare facilities of various kinds
  6. Palliative Care
  7. Organ Donation
  8. Tissue Donation
  9. Disease Treatment

There are many other kinds of treatment that might be needed as well, such as dialysis, surgery, and even experimental treatment to try to save your life or improve your condition. You can determine which of these kinds of care you are willing to have if you should be unable to make your own choices, and you can also choose to limit the determinations that the POA grants down to very simple things.

The choice about how to have your healthcare handled if you are unable to make your own choices is entirely personal, and you should not be forced to write your MPOA in any way that is not 100% of your own choosing. This document is often a key part of estate planning, but younger people should consider having this kind of document on hand as well. Always make sure that you update your POA if you have had a falling out with your named agent or if your situation has changed in some way.

There is usually also a section that also allows for added permissions that you might want to grant to your agent. Most premade POA documents of this nature will cover all of the most important medical care that needs to be determined for someone who is in a coma or otherwise unable to speak for themselves and makes choices, but you can always add more detail if you wish.

Many people are not sure if their named agent will be able to access their medical records with the MPOA in place, and the answer is that yes, they will be able to do so. This information can be key to providing care for someone who cannot make decisions for themselves, and this is one of the reasons that an MPOA is so critical. HIPAA requires that a document of this nature exists for the named agent to be able to secure access to patient records.

Does my medical power of attorney need to be notarized?

Most states will require that you have your medical power of attorney notarized. This is a very important document that allows the named agent to act on your behalf to confirm lifesaving treatment and other critical medical decisions. No one should be forced to sign a document of this nature by coercion, and this document cannot be created for someone who is not thinking rationally or who is unable to reason.

The notary process is used to verify that all of the involved parties are of sound mind and prepared to sign the document when it is completed. This is a critical step in verifying the authenticity of the document, and it also provides added legal weight to the MPOA.

In some states, you can choose to have two witnesses instead of a notary present at the signing of the document instead. While this is an easier process in some ways, this can lead to influencing the decision of the person creating the MPOA, and it can cause issues down the road if the document’s veracity is called into question.

It is always wise to make sure that you notarize your POA documents so that there is not any legal question about the right of the person named as your agent to provide the care that you might end up needing.

Power of Attorney for Health Care

What other documents might you need to create to help you to ensure your MPOA can be used?

If you are worried about other considerations that might need to be handled while you are incapacitated, you should consider learning a little more about a few other documents that can be of assistance if you should end up in a coma.

A living will is a different document than your MPOA, and it is used for related but unique needs. A living will is used to help guide specific healthcare and financial decisions for you if you are in a coma or are not able to make choices on your own. This document can only be used while you are alive, and if you pass away while you are in a coma, this document will become invalid.

However, your living will can be used to guide your care and does not necessitate that an agent is named to take action on its contents. This is an important document to write if you want to be sure that your doctors and nurses have the right to care for you in specific ways. When people have large families or they know that someone in their family circle might be against the care that they actually want to receive, this form can allow healthcare staff to provide the care that they want without having to work with an agent to deliver it.

If you have not already started to work on estate planning, you should consider doing this as well. Your estate should be ready and prepared so that your wishes can be carried out if you should pass away. While not an enjoyable process, there is a lot that can be done to protect your interests, even in death, with an estate in place. These are the kinds of considerations that many people never think to handle until it is too late. Being sure that you will get the medical support that you want and that your estate will be handled correctly upon your death can offer a lot of peace of mind.

Medical Power of Attorney Documents are Critical

You should never assume that you will not one day end up in a situation where you might need someone to provide medical care and support decisions for you. Anyone can end up in a coma or unable to make these kinds of choices for themselves, and you should not leave the determinations that need to be made up to chance. There are many situations every year where families cannot agree on what to do with regard to someone’s care when they have become unable to make their own choices, and this can lead to all kinds of chaos and stress that you can avoid by creating an MPOA.

Make sure that you choose your agent wisely and that you have thought through the kind of care that you want to receive and the kind of care that you do not want to have offered to you if you should end up in a situation where you cannot make your own choices. The MPOA form will give the named agent a lot of power over your future as well as your end-of-life needs, and you should be certain that you have made clear-headed choices about who this person is and what you want them to do.

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Tagged:Authorize FormLegalMedicalPower of Attorney
TemplateLab February 25th, 2023
Ryan Duffy
Ryan Duffy