When many people make an estate plan, they want to make choices about their future medical decisions. Someone who doesn’t want to be resuscitated and put on life support may use a DNR order to accomplish this. It simply tells medical professionals what steps to take if the person needs CPR or some type of machine assistance.
However, you may find that this just doesn’t go far enough. It only addresses one potential medical situation. What if there are other types of medical treatment that you don’t want to get? What if there are certain types of treatment that you definitely do want to get, but you’re worried that they won’t be provided? Fortunately, you do have other options.
Using a medical power of attorney
Perhaps the best way to do this is simply to choose an agent with a medical power of attorney. This agent may be a child, a spouse, an extended family member or anyone else that you choose. It just has to be a trusted person who agrees to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. The medical power of attorney gives them the legal ability to do that, and then they can communicate all of your wishes to your medical team.
You can also do this in writing, using an advance directive. The only limitation here is that this is an inflexible document. A medical power of attorney lets your agent respond to the specific situation and make what they believe is the right choice in real time.
If you would like to use any of these documents, be sure you know what steps to take to get them set up.