Even if you have lived a healthy and active life, you may eventually develop a debilitating illness or life-altering injury. If your condition renders you unconscious or otherwise prevents you from making your own medical decisions, you do not want to lose control over your health care.
With a medical power of attorney, you can designate a health care surrogate and an alternate one to make medical decisions on your behalf. While picking the right surrogates initially is critical, you should occasionally review your designation. Here are three times when doing so usually makes sense.
1. You have changed your family makeup
It is not uncommon for Floridians to ask their spouses or intimate partners to serve as health care surrogates. If you go through a divorce or otherwise change your family makeup, your medical power of attorney may not reflect your true wishes.
2. You have a new medical condition
When you are healthy, invasive medical procedures, resuscitation and end-of-life care can be abstract subjects. If you develop a new medical condition, your wishes may change. This may be especially true when you learn additional information about the progression of your condition.
3. You disagree with your surrogate
You should not take choosing your health care surrogate lightly. Therefore, you should have some in-depth conversations before making your selection. If you subsequently discover you do not agree with your surrogate, however, it is probably time to designated a new one.
While thinking about medical care can be uncomfortable, executing a medical power of attorney is probably in your best interests. Ultimately, to be sure you have the right health care surrogate throughout your life, you should plan to review and update your medical power of attorney at least once a year.