You’ve gone through the steps of choosing your health care agent and you’ve signed your health care power of attorney, now what?

First, talk to your agent and discuss the following:

  • What’s important to you?
  • 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 letters of instructions addressing how you’d like to be cared for. 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 provided some guidance about your treatment wishes.

Finally, be sure to inform key individuals that you have executed a health care power of attorney. Notify your doctor, family and close friends about your preferences and make sure a copy of your health care directives are accessible (consider using a service such as DocuBank).

Give copies of your health care power of attorney to:

  • Your agent and your alternate agents
  • Primary care physician
  • Other health care providers actively involved in your medical care
  • Health care institution providing your care
  • Family members or other responsible persons who may be called in the event of an emergency
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