One of the most important decisions that anyone can make is deciding who will make medical decisions on their behalf in the event they become incapacitated. If you are putting together an estate plan, choosing a medical power of attorney is one of the key components of your plan. Knowing who can serve as your medical power of attorney, what they will be responsible for and what sort of qualities to look for in your choice is a vital part of the estate planning process for San Diego, California residents who are getting their affairs in order.
What does a medical power of attorney do?
A medical power of attorney is responsible for making healthcare-related decisions for you if you are incapacitated. For instance, if you are in surgery and something goes wrong, your medical power of attorney will make healthcare decisions on your behalf while you are under anesthesia. Similarly, if you are in an accident and are incapacitated, your medical power of attorney will make decisions regarding life support and other decisions on your behalf.
Who can serve as a medical power of attorney?
According to California law, any competent adult can serve as your medical power of attorney. Obviously, you want to choose someone who can handle the mental and emotional impact of making potentially life-altering decisions on your behalf. But you are within your legal right to name any mentally competent individual who is over the age of 18 as your medical power of attorney.
What to look for in a medical power of attorney
The decisions that your medical power of attorney could possibly have to make are serious. Because of the importance of these decisions, you should only name someone who you trust to fulfill your own wishes for your healthcare instead of relying on their own wishes. While many people want to have someone close to them serve as their medical power of attorney, you should be sure that this person will not let personal emotions get in the way of executing your wishes.
Estate planning involves making some incredibly tough decisions. When putting your estate plan together, you should consult the advice of an attorney who is familiar with the laws that govern estate planning in your state to get a better understanding of the process.