Medical Power of Attorney
What is a medical durable power of attorney? This is a person who you have designated to make decisions about your medical care if you are not able to do so.
Why do I need a medical durable power of attorney? In some states, Colorado included, no one is automatically authorized to make medical decisions for another person; not spouses, adult children, other family member, or doctors. It is best if you know ahead of time who will be making decisions for you if you cannot. If no one is designated as your medical decision maker, then a Proxy Decision Maker must be selected, without your knowledge, or a guardian appointed by the court.
What kind of power does a medical durable power of attorney have? This person can make healthcare and medical decisions when you are not able to. This can be short term while you recover from an accident or injury, or it can be longer term, if you become permanently incapacitated. Your medical durable power of attorney can also get copies of your medical records and consult with your doctors and healthcare providers. This person does not have any rights to your financial affairs.
How do I choose my medical durable power of attorney? This person, also known as your “healthcare agent”, should be someone who knows you well and you trust to make your medical decisions, including when you would say no to treatment. Your agent must act according to his/her understanding of your wishes and preferences, while putting aside their own values and preferences. Please don’t assume your designated agent knows how you would choose all of this. You do not have to choose a spouse/partner.
How do I designate my medical durable power of attorney agent? You complete a Medical Durable Power of Attorney document. This does not need to be witnessed or notarized, but it is recommended to get a witness so it is valid in other states. Your agent does not have to sign the Medical Durable Power of Attorney, so at a minimum, make sure you tell them you have designated them to make your medical decisions if you are ever not able to do so. It is recommended that you provide a copy of your Medical Durable Power of Attorney document and give to your agent. It is also recommended to provide your agent with other details you want them to know to help make the best medical decisions, as you would.
When should I designate my medical durable power of attorney agent? Really, this can be done anytime. We do recommend that this is completed soon, we want you to be prepared. There are no restrictions other than being 18 years of age, same for your agent. Legacy Foundry has some tools to help complete this document. There are also resources available on Legacy Foundry’s website on how to talk to your designated agent. We understand this is not the easiest of topics to bring up in conversation; we want to support you and make this an easy experience to get you prepared for the future.
For more information specific to medical durable power of attorney, contact your physician, hospital, senior group, attorney or www.coloradoadvancedirectives.