6 Things to Know About Healthcare Power of Attorney in AZ
Health care power of attorney is important for when the time comes. Learn more about hiring the right lawyer for your needs in Arizona.
Only about 40% of adults have an advanced directive in place for those times of emergency. This leaves far too many people vulnerable without someone who knows their wishes able to make medical decisions for them.
For many, the need for a health care power of attorney (or an Arizona medical power) seems like a far-off chance that couldn't happen to them, or at least not for a very long time. But you never know when a crisis will come up and it's much better to have your affairs in order so you're not left with choices you wouldn't have made for yourself.
If you aren't sure about all the details of setting up a power of attorney in healthcare matters or why you should take care of this task, this guide is for you. Read on for all the information you need to get started.
Talking to an estate planning attorney will help. An attorney will have an specific attorney form to guide you thorough the process.
1. Roles and Responsibilities
Before you start the process, it's important to understand the roles and responsibilities of a power of attorney for healthcare. There can be some misconceptions and you don't want to be confused about what this person will be doing for you. It's good to know what they won't be doing as well.
Often, we think of a medical power of attorney as only being the person who decides if you stay on life-saving interventions or not. But there's much more to it than that.
They may need to start making decisions long before you're in critical care. The person you name your proxy will be responsible to speak with your doctors, setting up living arrangements, approving treatments and medications, and making other medical decisions. They will help your doctors decide which medical treatment to give you as your primary agent. Health care decisions are very important and they can save your life.
2. Official Health Care Legal Document
In order for a person to be appointed and given the authority to make these types of decisions, you'll need to create a healthcare power of attorney. Working with a lawyer is the best way to ensure that everything is correct and ready to go when needed. An attorney document will have all you need. Including HIPAA waiver and mental health power of attorney to help your agent.
Your law team will start the process by going through what your healthcare proxy will have the power to do and discussing some options with you. The attorney will make sure that your health care POA has specific instructions for your agent and for your medical provider.
From there, you'll need to provide the information about your choice and sign a formal document stating your decision. A notary public is required in the state of Arizona but a witness is not. You can also add any other wishes, like a DNR, to this document as well. Each state has its own laws regarding these appointments which your lawyer will know and comply with.
3. Timeline for Assignment
The only bad time to work with your lawyer to set up power of attorney in Arizona is when it's too late. It's never too early to make sure you have someone who will take care of you when you can't do it yourself. As long as you are an adult and are mentally capable of making your own decisions, you can set up your medical proxy.
A person is deemed medically sound when they can understand the decision their making and know what's going on around them. Once you have lost these functions (whether due to an accident, illness, or age), you can no longer make these decisions. So you must make arrangements as soon as you can to avoid this issue.
If you no longer have mental capacity you will need a Guardianship. Guardianships are more expensive and time consuming. Having a health care power will prevent that.
4. Smart Choice
Choosing a power of attorney in healthcare should be more than just assigning your closest friend or relative. Potentially, they could be responsible for a lot, so you should be very careful in how you make your decision.
It's helpful to think about who in your circle can keep a very level head in a crisis. They should think logically and not rely solely on the emotion of the situation. You want to choose someone who will take all of the information into account and spend the necessary time doing research and talking to experts.
Also, remember this choice can change if circumstances are different years from now. Have back up decisions makers can also save you time in case the first person can help you anymore.
5. Extra Documents
While you're setting up your healthcare power of attorney, it's the perfect time to get some other legal documents in order as well. When you work with a lawyer they will also help you with a Living Will as part of your health care power. The Living Will will have guidelines in relation to resuscitate directive and advance directive.
If it ever comes time for your proxy to take effect, they'll need to have access to all of your medical records to make the most informed decision. This means you'll need a HIPPA waiver in place. This document takes out a lot of delays that can happen and gets you the treatment you need.
You can also set up organ donation forms or other wishes if you should pass away. These additional documents make it as easy as possible for your power of attorney to make arrangements when you can't.
6. Consequences for Delay
When you put off handling these important decisions or don't take the proper route through a lawyer, your loved ones will run into problems during an already difficult time. Instead of just being able to take care of you, they may have to leave all of your medical decisions up to someone else who doesn't know you or what you would want.
It can be a long, difficult process to file for guardianship after the fact, which means there might not be anyone you trust handling your medical care for too long. The best thing you can do is determine your proxy and a backup well before you need one.
Everything You Need to Know About Healthcare Power of Attorney
Setting up your healthcare power of attorney (as well as other crucial estate documents) will help bring you peace of mind and confidence about you and your loved ones' future. Instead of having that nagging worry in the back of your mind, you'll know that all of your wishes are known and will be handled even if you can't execute them yourself.
It only takes a little effort to make sure everyone you love is taken care of, especially when you work with a great law firm in Chandler, AZ. The right lawyer will walk you through the entire process as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Our team of estate planning and probate lawyers has a thorough understanding of everything to do with estate planning, including trusts, wills, power of attorney, and much more. If you're interested in seeing how we can help you plan for the future, contact us today for a consultation!