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Is an advanced health care directive enough?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2024 | Powers Of Attorney |

An advanced health care directive lets you spell out your health care wishes. For example, if you would like a particular doctor to treat you. If you will only accept a blood transfusion from family members. Or do not want to be kept alive artificially.

If you have made one, or are thinking of doing so, you may wonder if you still need to appoint a health care power of attorney.

While these two options have some crossover, a health care power of attorney is more comprehensive, so you should always appoint one.

You might not think of every situation

Let’s say you write an extensive advanced health care directive. It covers every situation you can think of. The problem is you cannot think of everything. The human body, and life in general, can be unpredictable.  

The health care power of attorney has more scope

If the doctors treating you have a decision to make regarding something your advanced health care directive does not mention, they can turn to the health care power of attorney and ask them what you would have wanted. 

Your power of attorney needs to abide by what you wrote in your directive

Include a sentence in your documents to say the power of attorney must defer to any instructions you gave in your directive.

There should be no situation where they cannot come up with an answer. It might not always be the answer you would have taken were you able to communicate, as some situations are so abstract that even you might not be sure how you would answer. But they can certainly do their best to answer on your behalf.

Learning more about these and other estate planning tools can help you plan for the unexpected.