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Health Care Powers of Attorney

A health care power of attorney conveys to your agent the ability to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.

When it comes to your health care, you should make sure you have a health care power of attorney as part of your estate plan.

A health care power of attorney conveys to your agent the ability to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so yourself. The amount of authority you give to your agent is a very important decision you must make, in consultation with your estate planning attorney.

Just like a financial power of attorney, not all health care powers of attorney are the same. These documents should be carefully customized and drafted to reflect your values when it comes to your own health care.

A health care power of attorney appoints an agent to make health care decisions for you. This is different from a living will, which is a document in which you express your wishes when it comes to the type of care you wish to receive if your condition becomes terminal. It is important to coordinate these two documents:

  • A living will states your wishes regarding life support and the provision of nutrition and hydration.

  • A health care power of attorney empowers someone to carry out those wishes, as well as all other designated health care decisions.

You should also consider the importance of granting necessary powers to your agent for mental health treatment. In Arizona, this power must be expressed either in the health care power of attorney or in a separate mental health power of attorney. One of the necessary powers is the ability of your agent to place you in a level-one behavioral facility should the need exist. Without this express power, a guardianship or conservatorship may become necessary in the future, at considerable expense.

Make the right choices, and have them explained to you by an estate planning attorney. You are welcome to contact me for more information.