Healthcare powers of attorney and advance directives are created by statute. Similar to durable powers of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney is a document in which you (the principal) designate an agent (the healthcare attorney-in-fact) to make healthcare decisions when you are incapacitated or unable to communicate those decisions on your own. Importantly, your durable power of attorney is not empowered to make healthcare decisions, and conversely, your healthcare power of attorney is not authorized to make financial decisions for you. That said, obviously, if you have appointed the same person, he or she will have both powers. As broad as the powers are in a durable power of attorney, the powers of your healthcare agent as similarly as broad, although relegated to healthcare decisions. Thus, the agent can admit you to a facility, have you discharged or transferred, consent to surgical procedures, etc. It is often a good idea to name a successor agent in case your primary agent is not available.
An advance directive is more commonly known as a ‘living will’; this document describes what level of care you want to have, or have withheld, in the event you are facing an end-of-life situation. In North Carolina, the advance directive contemplates three scenarios: incurable or irreversible condition which will result in death within a relatively short period of time; unconsciousness which, to a high degree of medical certainty will never be restored; or substantial loss of cognitive ability which will not be restored. In each scenario, the principal can elect to receive the maximum treatment available; or the withholding of all treatment; or grant discretion to the healthcare agent to decide.
The healthcare power of attorney with advance directive conveys significant powers and should only be executed after reading it in its entirety and consulting with your attorney and your potential agents. If you have any questions about a healthcare power of attorney or advance directive, contact the Estate Planning attorneys at Sodoma Law today.
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEBSITE WAS PREPARED BY SODOMA LAW AND IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND NOT, IN ANY WAY, CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE.