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Kansas Health Care Powers of Attorney

Minter & Pollak, LC

Who Should I Appoint To Make Medical Decisions for Me?

A medical power of attorney, also known as a health care power of attorney, is a legal document that designates someone to make health care decisions for you if you cannot make those decisions for yourself.

Of course, as attorneys, we think everyone needs health care power of attorney. But who is the best person for you to appoint as your agent? If you are married and your spouse is capable, that is usually where the conversation ends. But what if you aren’t married or your spouse isn’t capable. Or what if you need to designate an alternative to your spouse if they can’t be your agent? Most people will usually choose an adult child or other close relative. Whoever is on your short list of people to appoint, we find the following items helpful to think about when making this decision.

Location

We have clients that have family right down the street but also clients whose family lives across the country. Given that many of the decisions your agent will need to make for you will involve visits and conversations with your doctors and health care providers, it can be a great benefit to have your agent for health care decisions be someone that is relatively close by. This puts less stress on them having to travel a great distance to be with you in your time of need and improves their access to information as well.

Health Care Background

Although not a requirement, if you have someone who has a background or education in health care, they may be able to hit the ground running for you. We have lots of clients who have a child who is a doctor or a nurse or who works in a health care related field. But that doesn’t mean that is who you have to select. It just means they have additional knowledge that could help them make decisions.

Availability

This is a huge factor. We all live busy lives. If you have multiple people that would each make for great agents for health care decisions, sometimes choosing the one who has the most flexible schedule and the time to dedicate to your care can be a smart choice. This can make scheduling appointments and doctor visits easier and less stressful for everyone involved.

Decision Making

Of course, you want your agent for health care decisions to be a good decision maker. Appointing someone who procrastinates or has trouble keeping their own lives in order may not be the best choice. Your agent will need to make important decisions for you that can involve complex issues. You also want to select someone who will take your desires into account.

Communication

It is important to pick an agent for health care decisions that is a good communicator. If you have a family that needs to be updated on your care or a doctor that needs to discuss your prognosis, your agent needs to be able to handle these situations in stride.

Should I Appoint One Person or Multiple People?

We always think having a single agent is better than multiple agents. First, having a single person makes decision making much easier. If you have two agents and they disagree on a course of conduct, it can make for a delayed decision or no decision at all. Some clients want to have multiple agents that can act independently of each other. This works sometimes, but you run the risk of one person being much more informed and involved than the other and inefficient communication between the multiple agents can hamper decision making and lead to inferior results. You should discuss this issue with legal counsel to make sure your needs are met.

Conclusion

Sometimes the choice of who to appoint as your agent for health care decisions is easy. In other situations these decisions can be more difficult. There is often no “right” answer, just the “best” answer. If you have questions about Kansas health care powers of attorney, please reach out to an attorney in our office for assistance. We provide free initial consultations.

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Wichita Office
800 E 1st St N #310

Wichita, KS 67202

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