A Health Care Power of Attorney is a document that enables you to designate a person to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent, or unable to make these decisions on your own. The person whom you give this authority to is called an agent. And you, the grantor of the power, are called the principal.
Exercising one of these documents does not mean that you give up the right to make your own health care decisions immediately. Rather, the power only goes into effect if you are unable to make the decisions for yourself. Your agent has no authority over your health care decisions until you become unable to either give, withdraw, or withhold consent over your medical treatment.
A Health Care Power of Attorney is different from a Living Will. While a Living Will allows you to make known what you want to happen in case life-sustaining procedures are necessary, it does not allow you to appoint an agent to make health care decisions for you in the event of your incompetency or inability to make these decisions. It is important that you have a Health Care Power of Attorney in case you become incapacitated or incompetent so that you can be assured that the person you want making the decisions about your care is a person you trust to make the decision you want made. A Health Care Power of Attorney can also contain the same language as that of a Living Will so that one document serves both purposes.
If you would like to talk with an experienced and caring Raleigh health care power of attorney, please contact us.