Sudden illness or accidental injuries can be devastating for families. It can be particularly difficult on those who will be charged with making medical and financial decisions for an incapacitated loved one.
Advance directives are the solution during a time such as this. They clarify a person’s wishes should they be unable speak for themselves; be it due to sickness, accident, or any incapacitating condition.
Even the healthiest person could unexpectedly face a life-threatening, debilitating condition. Before that happens, it is critical to express your wishes, in writing and with the help of a Houston elder law attorney, should the time arrive when you can no longer express yourself.
What Are Medical Directives and Powers of Attorney?
Medical directives and powers of attorney are sets of written instructions given by one person (principal) regarding specific actions to take should the latter no longer be able to make decisions on account of illness or incapacity.
These sets of instructions are given to an agent who will make decisions or perform actions according to the wishes and on behalf of the latter’s principal.
The distinction between medical directives and powers of attorney lies in its object.
Medical directives outline the principal’s preferences regarding medical treatments and interventions. When a person is incapable of making medical decisions, the designated agent will make them consistent with the person’s stated wishes.
On the other hand, powers of attorney are generally confined to non-medical preferences. In the event of incapacitation or inability to act, the agent may transact business, sign checks, apply for Social Security, pay bills, etc., on behalf of the incapacitated individual.
Advance Medical Directives and Powers of Attorney
Should you decide on making a medical directive and power of attorney, you need to seek the advice of a Houston elder law attorney who can give you input on what should be contained in it.
Also, you should assign the power of attorney to someone who will carry out your medical directives and comply with your wishes. Ideally, close family members should not be named as the agent to make such decisions; they may find it too difficult emotionally to follow your preferences.
To make medical directives and powers of attorney legally binding, you need to put them in writing. Seek the advice and guidance of a Houston elder law attorney who can give experienced advice in drafting these documents and ensuring their legality.
Call the Houston elder law attorneys at Ostrom Morris, PLLC, today to learn more about these important legal documents and what steps you need to take to ensure your wishes will be upheld even when you aren’t able to advocate for them.