Steps For Establishing Your Power of Attorney
A power of attorney allows you to choose someone to make health care decisions for you if you can’t. If you name a health care agent when you are healthy, you will make sure that someone you trust can make health care decisions for you if you become too ill or injured to make them yourself.
We would like to share the highlights of the American Bar Association publication to educate our readers about the significance of a power of attorney.
The mission of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging is to strengthen and secure the legal rights, dignity, autonomy, quality of life, and quality of care of elders. It carries out this mission through research, policy development, technical assistance, advocacy, education, and training. This publication provides information and tools individuals may use in preparing their own health care power of attorney.
#1. Think carefully about who you want to be your health care agent-this person will be making life and death decisions for you. Choose someone who you trust to carry out your wishes, lives close to you or can travel to get to you, can handle conflict, and is a strong advocate for you. There are some people who should not be your proxy, representative, or agent and are listed here.
#2. Give guidance to your agent. Discuss what kind of end of life care you want so your agent will know how to respond when you are unable to do so. This is known as advance care planning and is often a difficult discussion to initiate. Good advance planning for health care decisions is, in reality, a continuing conversation–about values, priorities, the meaning of one’s life, and quality of life. To help you in this process, this tool kit contains a variety of self-help worksheets, suggestions, and resources.
#3. Complete the forms to document your health care agent and your advance care plan. Click here for the designation of health care surrogate forms that are accepted by the state of Florida.