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Home » Firm News » 3 questions to ask your medical power of attorney

Recent news headlines should be enough for anyone to consider his or her future medical care. To be sure your relatives, friends, doctors, spiritual advisors and others respect your wishes, you probably want to draft a comprehensive health care directive. You do not want to leave your health care to chance. Regrettably, many New Jersey residents have not yet taken this important step.

When planning your medical care strategy, you may want to name a medical power of attorney. If you cannot make your own medical decisions, this person makes them for you. While New Jersey law allows you to designate essentially anyone as your medical POA, not everyone is equal to the task. Here are three questions you should ask to determine if you are selecting the right medical agent.

1. Do you understand my wishes?

A serious injury or debilitating illness may make it impossible for you to advocate for your own health care. An effective medical POA must understand your wishes. He or she must also be able to compare your wishes to the available treatment options.

2. Can you communicate effectively?

Your loved ones and health care professionals may disagree with the choices your medical POA makes. Because it is not always easy to resist social pressure, your medical POA should not be timid. He or she should also be able to explain your wishes to those closest to you.

3. Are you available?

While your medical POA does not have to live near you, proximity may make a considerable difference. If time is critical in your treatment, your doctor must be able to track down your medical POA. Therefore, you want to be certain your agent is available to do the job. At a minimum, he or she should be easily reachable by telephone or email.

If you ever become incapable of making critical health care decisions, you will be happy you found the right person to advocate for your medical interests.