As Valentine’s Day approaches, many will be thinking about the perfect gift for their loved one(s). Flowers and chocolate are likely the most popular Valentine’s Day gift. However, for those of you who have not yet created a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) for Health Care, you may wish to add the creation of one to the top of your gift list.
A DPOA for Health Care is a document which allows you to decide who you would like to make decisions regarding your health care, should you ever become incapacitated and unable to make such decisions for yourself. The person you appoint is called your agent, and the form allows you to designate back-up agents, in the event your first-named agent is unable to act on your behalf. In addition, when creating a DPOA for Health Care, you can include specific directions regarding your wishes, including but not limited to your wishes regarding organ donation and life support issues. Although the requirements for creating a valid DPOA for Health Care vary from state to state, a common requirement for creating this document is that you must be competent. When a POA is made “durable,” the document will remain in effect upon your (the principal’s) incompetency. An individual who is no longer competent will not be able to create a valid DPOA for Health Care. In those circumstances, the individual’s loved ones will have to pursue other options to assist the individual with necessary health care decisions, such as guardianship.
Of course, each of us hopes that we remain competent until our last breath and that we never, ever need a DPOA for Health Care. Our life experiences, however, tell us that many of us will, at one time or another, need assistance with our health care decision-making. Thus, creating a DPOA for Health Care is a thoughtful and loving gift to give our loved ones, so they will know both who we want to make our health care decisions and our specific wishes.
So, for those of you who have not, yet, created a DPOA for Health Care, we at the Elder Law Center, P.C. encourage you to add it to the top of your gift list for Valentine’s Day.
©Copyright 2014 by Constance Burnett Renzi. All rights reserved.