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What are the benefits of a health care power of attorney?

Many people create a will or trust to ensure that their assets end up with the right people upon their death. But have you ever considered the fact that there is more to estate planning than what happens once you are gone?

For example, a health care power of attorney is something to consider. This is a legal document that allows you to express your medical care preferences in the event that you are incapacitated, such as due to an injury or illness.

There are many reasons why medical planning is important, including the following:

-- You don't know what the future will bring. You think you'll always be able to make your own health care decisions, but this doesn't always mean that things will work out this way. With a health care power of attorney, you can name somebody else to stand in for you if you are unable to speak out.

-- Peace of mind. Do you really want to sit around and worry that the wrong medical decisions could be made if you are incapacitated?

-- To avoid unwanted medical treatment. With a health care power of attorney, you never have to worry about receiving care, such as being put on life support, that doesn't match what you truly want.

With so many benefits of a health care power of attorney, you should consider creating this legal document to go along with your will or trust. When doing so, pay close attention to what you can and can't do with a health care power of attorney, as well as the legalities in your state.

Source: FindLaw, "Health Care Power of Attorney," accessed Jan. 24, 2017

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