If you’re like most people, you likely haven’t given much thought towards who communicates your medical decisions if you can no longer do so for yourself. But the fact is, this is something that should be a priority for anyone starting their estate planning.
What is a Medical Proxy?
COVID should have highlighted the importance of a medical proxy, no matter what age you are. Life is unpredictable. Assigning a medical proxy is more essential than ever. Also called a medical power of attorney, this is the person you authorize to make critical medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated and can’t speak or make decisions for yourself.
Your medical proxy or medical power of attorney can be designated to make the following decisions on your behalf:
- Authorize dangerous treatments
- Request second opinions about your care
- Remove you from life support
- Authorize unique measure to keep you alive longer
How to Choose a Medical Proxy
For starters, you’ll want to choose someone that you trust. Pick someone you know will respect your wishes regarding medical treatment and care in the event you can’t make those decisions for yourself. A medical power of attorney or medical proxy gives permission for that person to discuss your medical history to gain information to make an informed decision about your treatment.
Without a medical proxy, your medical information cannot be shared, even with an immediate family member. You may want to share who you designated as your medical proxy with your doctor, as well, just to make sure that they are aware of your wishes. Since this is a legal document, you will need to have the forms signed in front of witnesses, and sometimes you’ll also need to have the document notarized.
Whether you’ve started your estate planning or not, don’t wait to designate a medical proxy or medical power of attorney. Today was not promised to us, and tomorrow isn’t a guarantee. Contact the team at Mark Weseman Law to schedule your consultation today.