A common understanding about estate planning is the process of creating documents that become enforceable after an individual has died. Many estate planning documents, such as a will, primarily become effective only after a death. In addition to estate planning documents that become effective upon a death, many estate planning documents are pertinent during one's lifetime. A common type of estate planning document that can play a crucial role during one's lifetime is a power of attorney designation.
A common type of power of attorney that may be overlooked by Florida residents during their estate planning is one that governs healthcare situations. In general, a healthcare power of attorney allows a predetermined person make healthcare related decisions for another if that person becomes medically unable to make his or her own decisions, due to either a temporary or permanent condition. A great time to have this document in place is before a surgery.
A healthcare power of attorney may provide many benefits and the two prominent benefits could be the specific predetermination of the individual assigned to make decisions upon the implementation of the power of attorney and a document that clearly states one's healthcare directives. We all hope that a surgery goes as planned, but we all know whether through personal experience or dramatic television that they certainly can have complications during and after.
If a person becomes incapacitated and incapable of making his or her own healthcare decisions and a healthcare power of attorney has not been established, the person directed by pertinent state law may be appointed to make such decisions. Typically, if this scenario happens to a married couple, the other spouse will be appointed to make the decisions for their incapacitated spouse.
A healthcare power of attorney can provide an individual with the confidence that their personal healthcare directive will be implemented as directed upon their incapacitation.
Source: About.com, "Having Surgery? Do You Have a Healthcare Power of Attorney?" Jennifer Heisler, Jan. 21, 2013