Although none of us like to dwell on the possibilities of sickness and
disability, there are certain actions that need to be taken in anticipation
that the day might come when we are unable to take care of ourselves or
a loved one. One such legal document that should be prepared is a Durable
Power of Attorney for Health Care.
The Power of Attorney for Health Care gives an individual you name certain
rights to make decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to
make those decisions. Even so, you can still exercise some control by
what statements are contained in the document. You can state your desire
to refuse medical treatment that merely prolongs an inevitable death when
the burden of such treatment outweighs the anticipated benefits; or you
may be more restrictive and state you want treatment to continue unless
you are in an irreversible coma; or, if you desire to hold on to life
as long as possible, you can direct that you want to be kept alive by
all means available.
The Power of Attorney may authorize another person to receive, review,
and release all medical records; to execute documents; to refuse treatment;
or to withdraw you as a patient from a hospital and to release the hospital
Additionally, you may state whether you want your body parts donated. You
can give your agent power to dispose of your remains and to authorize
If the agent you select to act under the Power of Attorney is unable to
do so, you can name alternates. You can also name the person you would
like to be your conservator should that be necessary.
The Power of Attorney for Health Care provider may save your family money
and relieve them of anxiety in trying to determine what your wishes actually are.