What would happen if you were on Life Support, unable to make medical decisions for yourself? If you have an HCPOA, your wishes will be done. If you don't, the medical staff will keep you "alive" as long as possible - even if that's not what you want.
HCPOA is the common acronym for Health Care Power of Attorney. This document allows you to outline your medical wishes and appoint another person to make sure those wishes are enforced in the event that you are incompetent or unable to make your own health care decisions. A HCPOA is a separate document in your estate planning portfolio. Your Will and/or Trust will not cover this eventuality.
Suppose you endure a severe, disabling brain injury in an auto accident, or suffer a prolonged stroke, which renders you comatose. Without a Health Care Power of Attorney, the treating medical staff will be duty-bound to make every effort to keep you "alive." This kind of treatment doesn't come cheap, and in many cases, it would be rejected if you had any say in the matter. Your HCPOA allows you to have a say; without one, there is nobody with authority to say, "Stop these extraordinary measures."
HCPOAs aren't complicated or expensive to prepare. In addition, the American Bar Association has a guide entitled "Personal Priorities and Spiritual Values Important to Your Medical Decisions" and another titled "Are Some Conditions Worse Than Death?" If you would like to discuss a HCPOA, please contact us.