Very few people want to think about the fact there may be a time when they are unable to make medical decisions for themselves. An advance directive is an estate planning tool that plans for incapacitation.
One of the parts of an advance directive is naming a medical power of attorney. Because this person will be in charge of making sure the medical team follows your wishes, you should take the time to choose the right individual.
Role of the medical power of attorney
According to the Office of the Texas Governor, a medical POA’s role is to carry out your wishes for medical care and end-of-life treatment. Ideally, you should fill out a directive to physicians, also referred to as a living will. This document outlines what medical treatments, especially in regard to life-sustaining treatments, you would want or not want. This may include blood transfusions, artificial life support or life-sustaining medication.
When your wishes are already on paper, this makes it easier for your representative to know exactly what you want.
Good traits of a medical POA
WebMD discusses some good traits often found in a medical power of attorney. An important trait is that this individual understands and respects your wants and wishes. It is a good idea to have numerous discussions with your POA to let him or her know what your beliefs and values are, as there may be some issues that come up that the directive does not address.
A good representative should have the confidence to ask questions of medical professionals if there needs to be more clarity. The POA may also need to stand up to family members who may not agree with your stated decisions.