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A Short Primer on a Healthcare Power of Attorney

By: Attorney Shira Truitt


A healthcare power of attorney, also known as a medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy, is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint someone else to make healthcare decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so themselves. This can include decisions related to medical treatment, access to medical records, and other healthcare-related matters.


It is important to have a healthcare power of attorney in place because, at some point in our lives, we may become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make our own healthcare decisions but are still alive. This could be due to an accident, illness, or the natural aging process. Without a healthcare power of attorney, family members or other loved ones may have to go to court to be appointed as a decision maker, which can be a costly and time-consuming process. Your doctor, as well as the person you want to serve as your appointment should have a copy. You may also want to upload a copy in your patient portal. I always recommend at least two people and an alternate, just in case one of the people (like your spouse or significant other) are with you and have the same challenge.


There are a few different types of healthcare powers of attorney, each with their own specific provisions and requirements. A durable power of attorney for healthcare remains in effect even if the individual becomes incapacitated, while a springing power of attorney for healthcare only becomes effective upon the incapacitation of the individual. It is important to carefully consider which type of healthcare power of attorney is right for you, as well as who you would like to appoint as your healthcare agent.


It is generally recommended that everyone have a healthcare power of attorney in place, regardless of age or health status. This can ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event that you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions. It is also important to keep your healthcare power of attorney updated as your circumstances or relationships change, as well as to discuss your healthcare wishes with your healthcare agent to ensure that they are aware of your preferences.


There are a few key considerations to keep in mind when creating a healthcare power of attorney. First, the document should be properly executed and witnessed in accordance with the laws of your state. Second, it is important to choose an individual who is trustworthy and able to make difficult decisions on your behalf. Finally, it is important to discuss your healthcare wishes with your healthcare agent to ensure that they are aware of your preferences.


A healthcare power of attorney is an important legal document that allows an individual to appoint someone else to make healthcare decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so themselves. It is generally recommended that everyone have a healthcare power of attorney in place to ensure that their wishes are carried out in the event of incapacitation. By carefully considering the type of healthcare power of attorney, choosing a trustworthy healthcare agent, and discussing your healthcare wishes with them, you can ensure that your healthcare needs are properly completed.

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If you need legal advice or a lawyer in Illinois or Missouri, please contact The Truitt Law Firm, LLC for assistance. For more information on The Truitt Law Firm, LLC or to schedule an appointment, please go to www.thetruittlawfirm.com.


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