Congratulations! You’ve gone through the steps of choosing your health care agent(s) and you’ve signed your health care power of attorney, but your work shouldn’t stop there!
First, you will want to make sure to talk to your agent(s) and notify them of the following:
- What’s important to you regarding your medical care?
- Are there specific medical treatments you do or do not want?
- If you have an end of life illness, would you prefer to be cared for in a nursing home, hospital, or at home?
Also consider documenting these wishes in a living will and letter of guidance addressing how you’d like to be cared for if you haven’t already. While it might be impossible to address all of the ‘what ifs,’ it can give both you and your agent greater peace of mind if you provide some guidance about your treatment wishes. If you created your Health Care Power of Attorney with our firm, you would have also been given the option to create both a living will and letter of guidance to your health care agent as part of your estate plan.
Make Sure People Know You Have a Health Care Power of Attorney Document
It’s important to inform key individuals that you have executed a health care power of attorney. All of our clients receive an envelope with copies of their health care directives that they can take to a medical provider or give to their agent. Our clients also receive a flash drive with digital copies of their health care directives.
Most importantly, make sure a copy of your health care directives is accessible.
We recommend you give copies of your health care power of attorney to:
- Your agent and any alternate agents
- Your primary care physician
- Other health care providers actively involved in your medical care
- Health care network providing your care
- Family members or other responsible persons who may be called in the event of an emergency
Make Updates as Needed
It’s important that you review your health care directives regularly and update your agents and treatment wishes as needed. We want to avoid someone making decisions for you that you no longer wish to be making those decisions! For example, if you were married at the time you executed your health care power of attorney and named your spouse as your first agent, but you later got divorced and never updated your health care of power attorney, your ex-spouse could still choose to exercise their power and make health care decisions on your behalf.
Still Have Questions?
If you are unsure about what your next steps should be with your estate planning or whether you have the right health care directives, please give us a call at 919-443-3035 or schedule a free needs assessment call via our website.