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Turning 18? It’s time to set up a health care power of attorney

| Jun 4, 2021 | Estate Planning |

As soon as you turn 18, there is something that you have to consider. The fact is that your parents no longer have any control, legally, over your life. If you get hurt or end up in the hospital, they will have no access to your medical information.

The same is true of any guardian you may have had in the past. That’s why it’s a smart move to look into a medical durable power of attorney. This paperwork allows you to appoint someone as your agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot. You can also give that agent access to your medical records, so that they are always able to be updated by the medical team.

Why should you get a medical durable power of attorney when you’re 18?

One of the reasons to set up your health care power of attorney is because you’re now officially an adult. The durable medical power of attorney gives another adult access to your records and the ability to help make decisions about your care. Without this, your family may not have any control if you are hurt and unable to speak on your own behalf. Instead, all of your medical care will fall to the wishes or preferences of your medical providers.

One benefit of your durable power of attorney is that you can list your end-of-life preferences as well as other preferences in scenarios when your health is not good. You can provide your personal preferences on ventilation, life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other techniques or medical options.

Who should you choose for your medical power of attorney?

You can choose anyone you’d like to be your medical power of attorney, so long as they are an adult. It’s smart to select someone who has a good understanding of your medical or health issues, if you have any, as well as to choose someone who can understand medical options if you need care. Talk to them about becoming your power of attorney, so they can decide if they’d like to take on that role.

Setting up a power of attorney in advance is a good way to make sure your legal rights are protected, even when you cannot speak for yourself.

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