Take a break from whatever you’re doing for entertainment during these socially distant days to test your knowledge on how much you know about health care power of attorney—a particularly important estate planning document. Because I’ve never particularly enjoyed tests (who does?), I’ll give you a hint; all the answers can be found in this recent blog post:
To make things even easier, all of the statements below are either true or false.
1. An estate plan is a set of legal documents to prepare you (and your family and loved ones) for your death or disability.
2. There are six basic legal documents that nearly everyone should have as a part of an estate plan:
- Estate plan questionnaire
- Last will and testament
- Health care power of attorney (option for living will)
- Financial power of attorney
- Disposition of personal property
- Disposition of Final Remains and Instructions
3. A health care PoA is a legal document that allows you to select the person (your “agent”) that you want to make health care decisions on your behalf, if and when you become unable to make them for yourself.
4. Once your health care PoA goes into effect (typically most people elect to have this be the case only if an attending physician certifies you are unable to make medical decisions independently), your agent will then be able to make decisions for you based on the information you provided in your health care PoA.
5. If there are no specifics in your health care PoA relating to a unique situation, your agent can and should make health care decisions for you based on your best interests.
6. The person you select as your health care agent should be someone in whom you have the utmost trust.
7. The agent you select will be able to access your medical records, communicate with your health care providers, and so on.
8. Your health care PoA isn’t just about end-of-life decisions; it can cover many types of medical situations and decisions. For instance, you may choose to address organ donation, hospitalization, treatment in a nursing home, home health care, psychiatric treatment, and other situations in your health care PoA.
9. For people who feel strongly about not wanting to be kept alive with machines, this can be specifically covered in a document that can be part of your health care PoA, known as a living will.
10. If you don’t have a health care PoA and you should become incapacitated to the degree where you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself, your doctor(s) will ask your family and loved ones what to do. Ultimately, if your immediate family members cannot agree on a course of action, they would have to go to an Iowa Court to resolve the matter.
11. Going to court about a person’s medical care is very complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. This is especially true when compared with the convenience of simply putting a health care PoA in place should the need arise.
12. A health care PoA gives you control over how decisions are made for you, and the agent you choose will carry out your wishes.
13. Everyone can have unique issues and concerns when estate planning. It’s completely up to YOU as to what’s contained in your health care PoA. You name the agent(s). You decide what medical decisions will be covered and how. It’s all up to you.
14. Executing a health care PoA is a smart and responsible thing to do.
All of these statements are true. That wasn’t too bad! How did you do?