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California Lawyer for Medical Powers of Attorney

Burbank medical power of attorney lawyer

Law Firm Helping With Powers of Attorney for Health Care

One of the most difficult situations to prepare for is an injury, illness, or condition that leaves you mentally or physically incapacitated. You may feel that such concerns are only relevant to older people, but the truth is that an unexpected catastrophic accident could happen at any time. No matter your current age and health, it is important to do all that you can to plan for the unpredictable, including establishing a medical power of attorney that determines who will be responsible for decisions regarding your health care.

At the Law Office of David Schechet, we can help you with a variety of estate planning strategies related to your health. With over 35 years of legal experience, we understand the intricacies of California estate planning laws and the important details you will need to consider. We can guide you through the process of creating your estate plan and answer any questions you have.

Responsibilities Granted By a Health Care Power of Attorney in California

Unlike a financial power of attorney, which can take effect at any time according to your needs, a power of attorney for health care typically only takes effect while you are incapacitated. Until that time, you will be responsible for making your own decisions about your medical care and treatment, and if you recover and regain sufficient mental capacity, you will once again have decision-making authority.

However, during a time when you are unable to make these decisions on your own, a medical power of attorney allows you to leave decision-making authority in the hands of someone you trust, like your spouse, child, sibling, parent, close friend, or anyone else of your choosing. In general, the agent you name in the power of attorney has the same authority to make decisions regarding your health care that you would have yourself.

For example, your agent can decide whether you should undergo surgery, what kind of medication and treatment your doctors should provide, and which health care providers should be responsible for your care. If your condition is life-threatening, your agent can also make decisions regarding life-sustaining measures like ventilation, feeding, dialysis, and resuscitation. In the event of your death, your agent may be responsible for notifying people of your passing and deciding how to handle your remains.

Providing Guidance for Your Agent

In the absence of specific guidance or direction, the agent named in your power of attorney for health care will have the discretion to make decisions that he or she believes are in your best interests. Consulting with your family and health care providers can help them make these decisions, but you can also provide direction through other elements of your estate plan.

For example, a living will or advance health care directive allows you to express your personal preferences for care, treatment, and life-sustaining measures in the event of your incapacitation. Whenever possible, your agent should proceed according to the terms of your living will. You can also create other documents, including a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order and a Physician's Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), to provide direct instructions to your health care providers regarding your end-of-life care. In this case, your agent will not be left to make a judgment call.

It is also important to ensure that your agent, and perhaps your close family members, are able to access information about your medical history in order to make educated decisions about your care. Because of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), this information is usually kept private from third parties, but you can complete a form authorizing the release of this information to trusted parties of your choice.

Contact a California Estate Planning Lawyer

We understand the importance of addressing your healthcare needs in your estate plan, and we can work with you to establish a medical power of attorney that leaves your care in the hands of someone you trust. Contact us today at 800-282-4731 for a free consultation so we can help you take the next steps. We provide at-home legal services for clients throughout the entire state of California.

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