A Colorado medical power of attorney is a legal document that gives an individual, the power to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. This document along with, the financial power of attorney are two important instruments every estate plan should include.
Similar to the financial power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney creates a principal and agency relationship. You are the principal, and the person you designate is your health care agent.
Plan For Incapacity First
Most people when thinking of estate planning think of will and trusts, and what’s going to happen to your family and your stuff when you die.
I believe people should plan for incapacity first then plan for what happens after you die. Chances are, you may be incapacitated on more than one occasion during your life.
While a financial power of attorney protects your financial health; a Colorado medical power of attorney protects your personal health.
Choosing Your Agent
Choosing you’re the right person to be your agent is at the heart of your healthcare power of attorney.
When you designate someone to be your healthcare agent, the person should be someone that you can talk to about your health care wishes and priorities. It should be someone who will act faithfully if needed and who will be a strong advocate for you if health care providers are unresponsive. Your health care agent should be someone who lives near you, or can travel to you if needed. It should also be an individual who can manage family members and friends if conflicts arise during the course of your treatment. Your healthcare agent should be someone you trust with your life.
Healthcare Agent Powers
The powers that are given to your agent may be very broad to encompass all contingencies. Or they may be as narrow as you like. Powers such as the ability to make medical decisions, determinations concerning long term, hospice, and comfort care, as well as pain relief. Moreover, a health care power of attorney may include a HIPPA release, “Personal Representative” designation, and a medical records authorization. These powers will allow you agent to have access to necessary information, if he or she needs it.
Remember the powers given to your health care agent may be very broad or limited, or somewhere in between. It’s all up to you. A Colorado medical power of attorney should be customized to your beliefs, faith, and philosophy, concerning quality of life and personal dignity.
Don’t Forget Your Living Will
Lastly, your healthcare power of attorney should include a statement referencing your living will. Also, there should be a provision stating if a conflict should arise between your living will and your medical power of attorney, which document will supersede the other.
In Colorado, there are no requirements that a healthcare power of attorney be notarized and witnessed. It is a good idea however, to have the document witnessed and notarized, to confirm the signer’s capacity and also to make the document more likely to stand up in court. After the document is signed, make a copy, and give the original to your agent. Lastly, a clause should be included in the document to ensure that copies are just as valid as originals.
All in all, a medical power of attorney is an essential estate planning document. The person you choose to be your healthcare agent should be a person you trust with your life. The powers given to your agent may be very broad or limited depending upon your personal beliefs. This document along with your financial power of attorney will help ensure your well being if you should ever become incapacitated.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice about your case or situation. There may be exceptions to the information outlined above. Please consult an attorney if you have specific questions about your estate or a decedent’s estate.Follow me on social media: