3 Tips Every Health Care Professional Should Know About Powers of Attorney

Tip #1 - What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPA) (also known as a Health Care Proxy or Medical Power of Attorney) is a document giving someone else the legal authority to make decisions and obtain information related to your health care. This document is valid through incapacity but ends the moment of death.

Tip #2 - Why would you need a Health Care Power of Attorney?

Imagine that you can't speak or move, and possibly can't even think. Maybe you are unconscious as the result of an accident. Perhaps you are a terminally ill patient who has entered into a coma or perhaps you are just experiencing challenges through the normal aging process.

These challenges may cause you to need help with understanding or remembering what your doctor is saying, with making medical decisions, or with finding and hiring a home-health aid or other assistance. Your Health Care Power of Attorney allows another person to communicate with your doctors and others for the sake of your well-being.

Tip #3 - How should you choose your Health Care Power of Attorney?

You must carefully consider your HCPA. Of course, you must trust your HCPA - you'll be sharing intimate details with this person, this person will have access to your medical information, and this person can visit with your doctor on your behalf. You also need to have a special rapport with them to be honest and straight-forward.

For more information about estate,  read our second edition of Prairie Planning magazine which focuses exclusively on estate planning for doctors and health care professionals. 

Brooke Swier Schloss
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Family Law and Estate Planning attorney helping families across South Dakota plan and protect their loved ones