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Medical Power of Attorney

Skilled Assistance from a Dallas Estate Planning Lawyer

Medical power of attorney is given to someone via a document that a person (called the “principal”) signs, releasing the power of health-making decisions to that designated individual (“agent”) if the principal becomes incapacitated. The document must be signed when the principal is of sound mind, and he or she must also sign a document verifying that he or she read and understands the contents of the medical power of attorney. It becomes effective immediately, but the healthcare decision-making power is only transferred to the agent when the principal is physically or mentally unable to make his or her own decisions, which must be verified by a physician.

While it is not necessary that an attorney be present, it is often in the principal’s best interests to consult with an experienced Dallas estate planning attorney to ensure he or she fully understands the ramifications of the document.

Selecting an Agent

If you or a loved one is in the process of signing a medical power of attorney, it is important to choose an agent who you trust to make the best decisions for you and honor any wishes you’ve communicated with them previously. Often, medical power of attorney will go to a spouse, family member, or close friend. Medical power of attorney cannot go to a healthcare professional unless he or she is a family member of the principal, nor can it go to a residential care provider or employee. This is to prevent scenarios such as elder abuse, where a residential care provider could take advantage of a person under their hospice without having an advocate for themselves.

The agent may not commit the principal to certain things such as:

  • A mental institution
  • An abortion
  • A lack of comfortable care
  • Psychosurgery
  • Convulsive treatment

It is important to bear in mind that if the agent makes a decision that is clearly against the wishes of the principal or the law, the physician can refuse. If for some reason the physician refuses, they must let the agent know so he or she can select another physician or advisor. In some scenarios, especially involving the provision of life-sustaining treatment, the decision may be reviewed by an ethics or medical committee.

    When making important decisions for your future, having a trusted Dallas estate planning attorney at your side can make all the difference. Call Kamuche Law Firm, PLLC today at (214) 273-6959 to get started.

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