People often think they should make arrangements for a Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney but unfortunately the need arises suddenly resulting in a challenging situation, according to Expert Click in “How to Get Power of Attorney for Aging Parents.
A health care proxy permits another individual to make medical decisions when a person is unconscious or unable to make a medical decision. Other documents that are often completed in a hospital setting are the MOLST (Medical Order for Life Sustaining Treatment) or POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment). This is also often the time the adult child is asked about the parent’s wishes concerning artificial nutrition and hydration.
Both the health care proxy and financial power of attorney documents should be created and executed well in advance of the emergency trip to the hospital. However, unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Planning for unexpected medical situations, by having the health care proxy in place in advance is better. Even young people need these documents, since accidents happen.
The problem of having these documents for elderly people is that they are sometimes resistant to having them created. You may need to have more than one discussion before they agree to complete the forms. While you are working on getting these documents for your parents, have them prepared for yourself and for your adult children.
No one plans to become sick, or to be in an accident. However, the reality is, even if we are lucky enough to avoid accidents or illness, we all age. By having these documents in place, we can be assured that when help is needed, decisions can be made by someone you choose.
The health care proxy and power of attorney will require more than just signing off on a piece of paper. It needs to include the person’s understanding of what the documents mean, finding the each agent understands and agrees to fulfill that person’s wishes and has no qualms about following their directions.
Sometimes the person named on these two important documents is not a family member, but a respected and trusted friend or even a professional. Family members are often overcome by emotion at the time of a medical crisis, and are unable to make critical decisions. You know your family best: will they be able to act in a time of crisis? If not, you’ll want to name someone else in these documents.
An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique situation and includes a Health Care Proxy and a Power of Attorney.
Reference: Expert Click (Feb. 12, 2019) “How to Get Power of Attorney for Aging Parents.