DURABLE MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY
WHO NEEDS ONE?
Everyone eighteen or over, because disability is more likely than death. Chances of being disabled are 7 1/2 times more likely than death for a 22 year old and 4 1/2 times more likely for a 62 year old.
WHAT IS IT?
It is a legal document that enables you, the principal, to appoint a person as your agent to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make them yourself. This power only becomes effective when you are incapacitated, so you remain in complete control until then.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU BECOME INCAPACITATED AND DON’T HAVE ONE?
A special guardian must be appointed by the court, which is expensive and time consuming. You could be forced to submit to treatment that is against your religious beliefs or denied access to the type of treatment you wanted. It is a lose-lose situation.
IF I HAVE A LIVING WILL DO I NEED A MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE?
Yes, because they deal with different situations. The Living Will deals with terminal medical issues, while the Medical Power of Attorney deals with all other medical related issues. In addition, they are designed to work together to ensure that you have the document that a person in power will honor.