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A health care power of attorney can be part of your estate plan

Discussing the benefits of a health care power of attorney can be an uncomfortable topic for some New Jersey residents. This is because such a document anticipates an individual's inability to make decisions about his health and welfare on his own. However, such a legal device can be an important part of an individual's estate plan as it can allow a person to vest decision-making power in someone he trusts when it comes to making determinations about the potential end of the individual's life.

A health care power of attorney can give a named agent the power to make health care decisions about a person's medical treatment. The agent only has this power when the individual is mentally unable to make such decisions for himself. In essence, a health care power of attorney gives the agent the power to make treatment decisions for someone who cannot make such decisions on his own.

In some cases, a person may confuse a health care power of attorney with a living will, but the two legal documents are distinct. While a health care power of attorney gives a separate person the decision-making power over another individual's medical treatment in the event of the individual's incapacity, a living will lays out how an individual wants his medical treatment handled in the event that he is unable to communicate those wishes to his doctors on his own.

Both living wills and health care powers of attorney can be included in a personal estate plan. To learn more about living wills and health care powers of attorney, interested readers can speak with their estate planning attorneys.

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