Q&A: Health Care Power of Attorney

Our dedicated legal team at PMC Law Firm understands how important it is to have your affairs in order in case of an emergency. One of the most important legal documents that we advise our clients to include in their estate plan is a health care power of attorney (POA). By adding a health care POA to your estate plan, you can feel confident knowing your best interests are represented. Below, we answer some of the common questions we are asked about the legal authority of a health care POA.

Question #1: Can my health care representative make decisions for me if I am still able to make my own decisions?

A: No. Your health care representative can only make decisions for you if your physician has evaluated you and determined that you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Question #2: Can having an advance directive affect my life insurance, health insurance, or the benefits I receive from a governmental benefits program?

A: No.

Question #3: Can my life insurance company, health insurance company, physician, hospital, nursing home, or any other health care facility require me to have an advance directive?

A: No.

Question #4: Does South Carolina recognize an advance directive that is valid in another state?

A: Yes, as long as it was validly executed in the state where it was made.

Question #5: What is the definition of “life-sustaining treatment?”

A: Life-sustaining treatment is any medical device or procedure that increases your life expectancy by taking over a vital bodily function. The medical device or procedure can be a drug, ventilator, surgery, therapy, or artificially provided fluids and nutrition.

Question #6: What is the definition of “permanently unconscious?”

A: Permanently unconscious means you have permanently lost the ability to interact with your environment and are completely unaware of your surroundings.

Question #7: What is the definition of “terminal condition?”

A: Terminal condition means the final stage of a fatal illness, disease, or condition. To be in a terminal condition, you do not have to be diagnosed as having less than a certain amount of time to live.

Question #8: What happens if I regain the ability to make my own decisions?

A: If you regain the ability to make decisions, then your physician must obtain your consent for all treatment, and your health care representative will no longer have the authority to any make decisions for you.

Question #9: Who should have a copy of my advance directive?

A: We recommend that you provide a copy to your health care representative and your primary physician.

Consult with Our Summerville Estate Planning Attorneys

If you have more questions about including a health care POA in your estate plan, then please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced lawyers to discuss your situation. We can explain all of your options under the law and guide you through each phase of drafting and executing the documents you need to ensure your wishes are respected.

Click here to learn about Author and Partner David Causey.

To schedule your case consultation with PMC Law Firm, give us a call today at (800) 914-0620.