What are limits on medical power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2022 | Estate Planning

Asking someone to be your medical power of attorney may be one of the most crucial decisions you can make. In the event you become incapacitated, you need somebody you can trust to make your health care decisions for you. If you have concerns that your medical power of attorney will have too much power, be aware there are limits that can contain the powers of your POA.

As Policy Genius explains, a medical POA does not have unlimited authority over your life in the event you suffer incapacitation and cannot make your own medical decisions. There are certain ways you can limit your POA as well as natural limits that constrain your POA.

You may specify the POA powers

Keep in mind that you have the authority to make your medical POA as broad or as specific as you want. You may have complete faith in your POA to guide your medical care, but if you have doubts, you could spell out what your POA can or cannot do. For example, you may limit your POA’s ability to make choices for you regarding certain medical procedures.

Some people clarify their wishes with a living will. This document, also called an advance directive, works with your POA documents. Your living will spells out how you want care in different scenarios while your POA document gives your POA the authority to carry out your living will.

Your medical POA expires with your death

Some people worry that their medical power of attorney will have the authority to manipulate their estates after they die. However, a medical POA expires upon your death. This means your POA cannot do anything to alter your estate documents, so your last will and testament will remain as you have written it before your death. The duty of administering your estate will fall to your executor unless you also make your executor your medical POA.

While a medical power of attorney has important powers, remember that you have ways to clarify what your POA can do and to place limitations on the power of the person who would make your medical choices for you during a tough time in your life.