A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that designates a person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to make healthcare decisions on behalf of another person (the principal) in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to make their own healthcare decisions.

A healthcare power of attorney grants the agent the authority to make decisions related to the principal’s medical treatment, such as:

Deciding whether to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment
Choosing healthcare providers and facilities
Approving or denying medical tests or procedures
Deciding on the use of pain management

The agent is responsible for making healthcare decisions in accordance with the principal’s wishes, as expressed in the healthcare power of attorney document or in other advance directives for healthcare.

The healthcare power of attorney is an important estate planning document that can help ensure that a person’s healthcare wishes are respected and carried out in the event that they become incapacitated. It is important to choose an agent who understands the principal’s wishes and is capable of making difficult medical decisions. It is also important to review and update the healthcare power of attorney regularly to ensure that it reflects any changes in the principal’s circumstances or wishes.
Click here to go to RELEP’s Estate Planning webpage.

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