Home Preparation, Planning and New Beginnings Why Choose a Healthcare Power of Attorney

Why Choose a Healthcare Power of Attorney

Estate planning

Elder law and estate planning attorney Andrea Lee joins Suzanne to talk about the healthcare power of attorney document. Andrea Lee serves as an attorney for Legacy Estate Planning in Bellevue, Washington. This document is often overlooked by families. Who can make medical decisions for you when you’re not able to make your own choices?

Andrea says, “There is so much that goes into making someone’s medical decisions. When I’ve had family members in the hospital, I’ve been awoken at 1 a.m. to authorize a blood transfusion. Or I’ve been hit with a question of, hey, there are different treatment options, you need to decide which one is going to be best. And those are very difficult decisions for family members to make. But what that health care power of attorney does is, number one, it gives them the legal ability to actually make those decisions. For many people that is especially essential, because you might have more than one child, you might have a new spouse and children from a previous marriage. And then the question comes down to, if an individual is hospitalized or incapacitated, who do they want to be making those decisions on their behalf? If someone doesn’t sign that health care power attorney, you’re really just opening the door for conflict in your family, because you’re not designating which of your five wonderful children you want to make those decisions, and that’s just going to create chaos amongst those children.

“One of the most important decisions people will make is: who are the people they’re going to name as their agents, who is the person who will manage your finances, who is the person who will make those medical decisions. Well-drafted health care powers of attorneys don’t give that much direction. They give a lot of powers. And that’s because as an attorney who’s been practicing in this area of the law for as long as I have, you learn that there are just too many possible scenarios that cannot be addressed within a power of attorney document. You can’t anticipate what someone’s illness might look like, or what the end of their life might look like. So it’s important that the document give the agent all the powers to make those decisions.

“It is a sign to them that you have faith in them, you have trust in their decision-making abilities, and that they are the individual you want charged with that hard situation. It is so important in families that have multiple potential decision-makers to choose the person. I tell my clients frequently, you know what? You can have two children who love you, who have your best interests at heart, who want to do everything to help you and support you. But they can still disagree. And it’s possible that neither one of them are wrong. They could both be right, but it’s just a matter of opinion. So it’s so important to choose that one person that you think best supports your personal view.”

Learn more:
* Andrea Lee: https://www.waltar.com/andrealee/
* Legacy Estate Planning: https://www.waltar.com/

Hear more:
* Legacy Estate Planning podcasts: https://answersforelders.com/tag/legacy-estate-planning/
* Power of attorney podcasts: https://answersforelders.com/tag/power-of-attorney/

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