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What is a health care power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Aug 7, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Aging adults are more likely to have a medical condition that impacts their ability to care for themselves and make their own decisions. Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for this possibility. While estate plans vary from person to person, estate planning professionals in Ohio often advise including a health care power attorney as one of your estate plan documents.

Under O.R.C. Sec. 1337.11, a health care power of attorney is a legal document wherein you can name an ‘agent’ to make health care decisions on your behalf if you ever become incapacitated.

Creating a POA

Any adult (at least 18 years of age) and of sound mind can create a health care POA in Ohio. For the POA to be valid, it generally must be notarized or signed in the presence of two adult witnesses.

How long do POAs last?

A POA can be classified as a durable or springing POA. A durable POA will go into effect as soon as you sign it and will continue to be in effect if you become incapacitated. A springing POA will go into effect once you become incapacitated. The POA will last until you regain capacity, or you pass away.

Who should I choose as my agent?

Your agent will have a lot of responsibility when it comes to your medical care. They may have to decide on a treatment plan for you and decide if and when to withdraw life support. You should choose someone trustworthy who is able to put their own personal feelings aside and make difficult decisions based on what you would want if you were capacitated.

We never know what the future holds when it comes to our health. Creating a health care POA is one of the best ways to protect yourself in case you are ever unable to act on your own behalf.