Imagine that you came down with a serious illness and could not tell your doctors what type of treatment you wanted to try. Or, imagine that the same thing was true after a serious injury, perhaps in a car accident. Regardless of what happened, you can’t communicate. Now what should the doctors do?

While they will work to save your life, they may not have any idea what you would want, or perhaps even more importantly, what type of treatment you would not want. You may have left an advance directive to give them some guidance, but you can’t predict everything in advance. What if things take an unexpected turn? Who is going to make that decision?

This is where a medical power of attorney can be very helpful. It is an estate planning document designating someone of your choosing to be your medical agent. They have the legal right to talk to the medical team and make decisions for you. When you cannot communicate, they act as your connection to the doctors. They help you get the type of care you want and need.

You obviously need to get this paperwork done in advance so that it’s ready for the unexpected. Another reason to do it as soon as you can, though, is so that you have time to sit down with your agent and really tell them what you want. Tell them about your medical goals and the treatments you never want to try. Give them the inforation they need to help you effectively.

As with all estate planning, be sure you know exactly what legal steps you need to take.