Estate Planning and Probate
Health Care Powers of Attorney Services in Beaufort, SC
Health care powers of attorney can be known by many names, including Advanced Healthcare Directive, durable power of attorney for Health Care, and Medical POA. However, it is not the same document as a Living Will. An attorney experienced in estate planning and probate services can explain these differences and more, as well as help guide the process of implementing health care powers of attorney, ensuring that your wishes are upheld with as little stress as possible.
What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?
A health care power of attorney is a medical-legal document that assigns a person (a health care agent) to manage health care necessities if you (the principal) are unable to make decisions for yourself. With a health care power of attorney, your agent can consent, refuse, or withdraw medical treatment on your behalf. A health care power of attorney may be used in situations such as going under general anesthesia, an illness that leaves you unable to communicate (e.g., a stroke), and Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
The person you assign as your agent in your health care power of attorney can decide:
- The type of medical care you receive (surgery, medical treatment, psychiatric treatment, etc.);
- Facilities where you receive your medical care (hospital, nursing home, hospice, etc.);
- The doctors and other providers who provide your medical care;
- End-of-life decisions; and
- Organ donation.
Why We Recommend Creating a Power of Attorney for Your Health Care
Ensures Your Wishes Are Followed
Not only does having a health care power of attorney allow you to assign a specific person the ability to make medical decisions for you, it also provides guidance for that person regarding your medical wishes.
If a health care power of attorney has not been assigned and you become incapacitated, court proceedings are often necessary to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you.
Prepares for Major Medical Procedures
When you are aware you will be undergoing a major medical procedure, that can be the perfect time to appoint someone as your agent under a health care power of attorney. Once the medical procedure has been completed, you are able to revoke a health care power of attorney if you wish.
Addresses Concerns Following a Degenerative Disease Diagnosis
As we grow older, the risk of being diagnosed with a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s, cancer, ALS, and Huntington’s disease increases. A health care power of attorney allows you to decide how you want your medical care to look as your disease progresses.
Our Estate Planning and Probate Services Team
Harvey & Battey’s estate planning and probate team has a wealth of knowledge and experience with health care powers of attorney. Attorney Eugene Parrs has more than 45 years of experience working with clients to create health care powers of attorney, and Attorney Ashley Amundson has years of experience in not only creating health care powers of attorney, but also ensuring they are upheld through her experience as a probate judge. Schedule a free consultation with either of our expert estate planning and probate attorneys to discuss your health care power of attorney needs.
COMMON QUESTIONS RELATED TO HEALTH CARE POWERS OF ATTORNEY IN SC
Q: Is a Health Care Proxy the same as Medical Power of Attorney?
A: Yes, a Health Care Proxy is another name for medical power of attorney or health care power of attorney. This means if you designate a Health Care Proxy, they have the ability to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
Q: Does SC Health Care Power of Attorney need to be notarized?
A: Yes, your health care power of attorney needs to be notarized according to SC state laws. It will also require the signature of two witnesses with the notary present at the time of signing.
Q: Who can witness a Health Care Power of Attorney in South Carolina?
A: The easier question to answer is, Who cannot act as a witness on your health care power of attorney? The following people cannot act as a witness:
- Your spouse or any lineal descendant, such as a child or grandchild
- Your parents or any lineal ancestor, such as a grandparent
- Anyone who is financially responsible for your medical care
- Anyone named in your will or who will inherit your property if you do not have a will
- A beneficiary of your life insurance policy
Working with an attorney experienced in estate planning and probate will ensure your witnesses are recognized by the courts.
Q: What’s the difference between Medical POA and Durable POA?
A: A medical power of attorney is designated to make decisions only on health care decisions. Durable powers of attorney designate someone to make financial decisions and any other personal matters you outline in the notarized document.