A Power of Attorney (POA) for personal care is a legal document that gives someone you trust the
right to make medical decisions on your behalf, if and when you are no longer mentally or
physically capable of making decisions on your own.
It’s one of the three most important documents everyone should have (the other two being a will
and a POA for property). Here’s why.
1) A trustee will have access to your medical records and can opt for any medical
treatment. Handpick the person you most trust to be that decision maker. It could be your
spouse, your mother, your father, your child (over the age of 16), or your best friend.
2) Your values or culture influence your choices. Having an appointed individual means
someone understands your beliefs and personal choices and knows what life-saving procedures
you would like doctors to take. A well-drafted POA outlines your choices, eliminating the need for
family members to argue or disagree.
3) You care about your family. Without a POA, your loved ones may incur legal expenses simply
to determine who would be recognized as your legal guardian.
4) You need someone to act and speak for you. Someone needs to give consent on your behalf
beyond immediate medical treatment. Retrofitting your home to accommodate your medical
needs, hiring a long-term care medical practitioner or moving into a care facility all require a
substitute decision maker to give consent.
5) Because when you need one, it’s too late to write one. You must be legally mentally capable
at the time you sign a POA. Which means, it’s important to think of the future now, when you are
healthy and able, because you may not be legally capable of drafting, and consenting to, a POA at
the time that you actually need one.
Next month, we’ll take a look at the top reasons to write a POA for Property.
* This article does not replace legal advice and is meant to be for information purposes only. Please
consult us or any other legally trained professional when navigating the complexities around writing a