Who makes necessary decisions for you if you have a heart attack, are brought to the hospital unconscious and are unable to speak to the doctors about treatment?

What happens if you develop dementia and can no longer make reasoned decisions about your own medical care?

One of the most important components of estate planning is documents in place to address decision-making about health issues that might arise if you are not able to inform doctors about your wishes. Having a health care power of attorney in place can alleviate your concerns.

A health care power of attorney allows you to name a primary person, and a backup, who can step in to your shoes and speak on your behalf. It is important to select a person who understands you and what your wishes would be. The document lists the many actions the health care attorney can take on your behalf.

So, say you did arrive at the hospital unconscious after a heart attack, and the doctor finds another problem while operating on your heart. The health care power of attorney allows your surrogate to make decision about medication, further surgeries, treatment, all until you resume consciousness and can resume making your own decisions.

This tool is very useful if someone executes a health care power of attorney and eventually develops dementia or Alzheimer’s. Many people live for years with these conditions, unable to make decisions anymore, but still making regular trips to the doctor, taking medications and going through different procedures. Someone must be able to give the doctor the “okay” to proceed when you can’t anymore.

The attorneys at Clark Law Office can work with you to put together an estate planning package that includes a health care power of attorney.