Estate Planning

What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A Health Care Power of Attorney is a binding document giving a relative or another person (the agent) the power to make health decisions on your behalf, should you find yourself in a situation where you became unable these decisions yourself.

Unlike the Financial Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney has to be done while you’re competent.

A Health Care Power of Attorney only comes into play when you are incompetent. A person cannot make decisions for you if you are competent. A Health Care Power of Attorney is a little more standardized than Financial Power of Attorneys but they can be individualized for special wishes. So, if you have certain preferences or requests with respect to your health care, such as holistic health care or organ donation, for example, you want to make sure this is included in your Health Care Power of Attorney.

Power of Attorney v. Living Will for End of Life Decisions

A “Do Not Resuscitate” wish is typically not going to be included in your Health Care Power of Attorney. That’s going to be addressed in the Living Will. Here is the difference between those two documents:

A Health Care Power of Attorney names an agent to act on your behalf and gives that agent instructions regarding your care while incapacitated.

In a Living Will, you are addressing your medical providers. So you’re saying: “Doctor, if I’m currently unconscious, if I’m in a terminal condition, this is what I want you to do.” This way, your agent does not have to make the decision, you are the one who did.

You can, however, still authorize your agent to make an end of life decision for you and most Health Care Power of Attorneys will have some language giving some direction for your agent. The Living Will, however, will kind of trump that because it is indicating that decisions already made.

The Living Will take the pressure off of your agent or relatives because you make the decisions for them ahead of time.

Portage County Estate Planning Lawyer

Attorney Rachel Dodds, Estate Planning lawyer in Portage, Summit and Cuyahoga Counties, can help you gain peace of mind by securing these issues. Consulting with an experienced Estate planning lawyer is essential in making sure that your final wishes regarding your property, your loved ones, and your healthcare options are carried out.

Not all lawyers are created equal. In difficult times, it is important to select a lawyer who can relate to your situation in a very professional and sensible way.

Attorney Dodds has the experience you need to address all your questions regarding wills and probate, trusts, drafting and execution of all legal documents, and estate administration. She is a knowledgeable and compassionate lawyer.

Attorney Dodds is a Member of Weisenburger Law Offices, a law firm in Ravenna, OH, located 5 minutes from the Portage County Courthouse. Our lawyers are dedicated to serving clients in Portage and Summit Counties. Weisenburger Law Offices was created in Portage County in 2000 and our lawyers have been servicing the Portage County community ever since.

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