Life can be very unpredictable. One moment you are in full control of your faculties and the next, you are incapacitated in a hospital bed. This explains why most people include a power of attorney (POA) in their estate plans.
A power of attorney is basically an estate planning tool that allows you to designate someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you should you be incapacitated. As you can imagine, this is an enormous responsibility. So, what should you look for when nominating a medical power of attorney?
Things to consider when nominating a medical power of attorney
From the onset, a medical power of attorney should be someone you trust. After all, this individual will talk with your doctors, access your medical records, approve medical tests and, if necessary, make critical calls like switching off the life support machine.
Here are some of the questions you need to ask when nominating a medical power of attorney:
- Can they make difficult decisions (like an end-of-life decision) if this is necessary?
- Can they stand up for you?
- Can they objectively talk to and ask medical questions on your behalf?
- Can they remain calm and focused on a crisis or a quickly changing situation?
Some of the people you may nominate for this role include your spouse, an adult child, a sibling, a minister, a sibling or a trusted friend.
You have the right to make your own medical decisions. If you are incapacitated, however, then someone else will step in and make these decisions for you. Understanding how Texas’ medical power of attorney and estate planning laws work can help you make an informed decision when choosing a medical power of attorney.