Power of Attorney for Health Care

What is a Power of Attorney for Health Care?

Below is some general information regarding the purpose and function of a Power of Attorney for Health Care. This is a very cursory overview and further questions, including whether a Power of Attorney for Health Care is appropriate for your estate planning,  should be directed to a qualified attorney.


A Power of Attorney for Health Care (also known as an “Advanced Health Care Directive”) authorizes an agent to make health care decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated.

This agent is chosen by you (ie: husband, children, siblings, etc.) and this document lets your loved ones know your wishes should you become incapacitated in any way. It directs the agent regarding life-sustaining treatment in the event of terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness. It also gives your agent the right to receive information regarding medical records which is very important because HIPAA regulations passed to protect patients’ privacy can otherwise limit a person’s ability to obtain any medical records whatsoever.

This may very well be the most important document to consider.

In light of the Terry Schiavo situation, many people are now paying attention to end-of-life issues. Family relationships are easily strained when forced to make such a tough decision and so this document sets forth your wishes clearly.

While all the other documents deal with transfers of wealth, this document fully explains your wishes during a very difficult time for your family.