You already wrote an advance directive for your doctors. It tells them the type of care that you want. More importantly, It tells them about the type of care that you don’t want. If there’s ever a time when you can’t make these decisions due to injury or illness, the doctors can refer to this legal directive.
So why would you still want to use a medical power of attorney? It seems redundant. The document allows you to choose someone to be your power of attorney, granting them the power to make your medical decisions. But why do that if all those decisions are already in the directive?
Your agent can be more flexible than an advance directive
Perhaps the biggest benefit is just that the person you choose to be your agent has far more flexibility. They can make decisions based on the most recent information, not whatever information you had when you wrote the directive.
For instance, maybe there’s a new type of treatment that’s available but you didn’t say that you wanted it in the directive. You didn’t know it existed, or it may not have existed when you wrote that directive. Your agent can decide that it’s still the best course of action.
Or maybe you were adamantly against a type of treatment when you wrote your advance directive, but you recently told your agent that you’d changed your mind. Failing to update the directive may mean you don’t get that care, but using a power of attorney means your agent can choose it for you.
Complex estate planning
With everything that you want to do in your estate plan, it can get to be a bit complex. That’s why it’s so important to understand all of your legal options.