Health Care Powers of Attorney
WHAT IS A DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE?
WHO SHOULD BE MY HEALTH CARE AGENT?
The ability to engage or draw out busy health care professionals: Communication is essential for gaining information; having a medical background helps with this process but is not essential.
The ability to command attention and respect: A person with this quality is more likely to be included in decision making.
Leadership abilities: A respected leader among family members can instill unity and confidence.
Time to devote to this task: Busy executives or people with many responsibilities are not always capable of devoting the time needed.
Geographical proximity: Having an agent who is not far away is advantageous, but this is not as important as the above characteristics.
I HAVE A WILL THAT CONTAINS INSTRUCTIONS FOR MY HEALTH CARE AND MY BURIAL. WHY DO I NEED ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS?
A will generally has no validity until after you die and it is submitted to, and accepted by, the probate court. This is well after it is needed to provide health care of burial instructions. While your instructions on these subjects will not necessarily be ignored, you are presenting them in a highly unusual form which could impede the very purpose you intended. Also, in some states, there are prescribed forms or witnessing formalities for health care and burial instruction documents that your will may not satisfy. It is better to let the will serve its intended purpose—the appointment of a personal representative and guardian for minors, and the distribution of your property—and have separate, properly drafted documents specifically dealing with health care and burial.