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Health Care Power of Attorney

Health Care Power of Attorney

What is a Health Care Power of Attorney and When Should I Designate my Agent?

The Healthcare Power of Attorney (HPOA) is like a Durable Power of Attorney, but it is restricted to management of only your healthcare needs.

The Healthcare Power of Attorney allows you to designate an agent (single agent) or agents (co-agents) NOW, while you are not in duress or distress to make medical decisions when and if future decisions are required.

The HPOA allows for your Agent to act if you are unable to communicate for yourself. It is important to note that: if you can make healthcare decisions, your designated agent cannot change or override your decision/s.

More importantly, the Health Care Power of Attorney allows your doctor, the hospital, or other medical provider to give information to the person you designate as your agent.

It can be painfully frustrating when family is told that information cannot be provided due to privacy laws. The HPOA document allows medical information to be provided to the agent(s) you designate.


How Important is it to Have a Healthcare Power of Attorney?

The Health Care Power of Attorney is a must-have estate planning tool. There are three main reasons for that:

  • First, the new State-form power of attorney outlined in the Code of Alabama (State’s one-size fits all plan) does not include any health care decision making authority.
  • Second, there may be a family member or close friend that you would never choose to have authority over money but would be a good choice to assist in making healthcare decisions. That person could be in the medical field or could be the only one who lives close to you. Being closer to you could be a benefit if you arrive at the hospital in an ambulance.
  • Third, a physician or healthcare worker does not need to read and decipher whether the document authorizes making healthcare decisions. When you need healthcare decision made, you want Healthcare Power of Attorney at the top of the document and words like consent, surgical, HIPAA in the document that are known to medical professionals.

Do I Need Estate Planning?

The State of Alabama provides an estate plan for everyone. It is a one size, and it fits everyone. Fits everyone? Not really.

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417 4th Avenue SW #270 Cullman, AL

204 Main Street Suite 128 Trussville AL

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