Power of Attorney for Patients

Can Your Protect The Power of Attorney for Patients?

One of the things that you lose when you hit your senior years is your ability to maintain your legal competence. And without someone who cares about your interests, you might lose what matters to you the most – accessing healthcare while controlling your assets and finances. The worst bit is that you might not have someone to trust with everything. There is also the high risk of elder fraud; which is not, unfortunately, limited to non-members of the family.

A power of attorney represents the legal directive that names a specific person you trust as your agent should you lose the ability to speak for yourself.

So, how do you avoid power of attorney fraud, especially when the guilty parties are members of your family or your caregivers?

First, signing a power of attorney (POA)

It is a legal requirement, in all the states, that anyone signing a power of attorney form should be legally competent to do sign it. This requirement is set by the fact that the POA will result in giving legal power over your healthcare and financial matters to an agent from the family or not.

For legality issues, you should involve legal counsel. Legal counsel ensures that the transfer of power and the provision of care to the patient is legal. You also need to find legal help when allocating your funds, an estate or a trust to a beneficiary.

Note, however, that a legal situation does not arise if you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s after you sign the POA. Legal competence is important when signing the document, and if you are legally incompetent at the time of signing, you might be a victim of theft crime or fraud.

The remedy for the signing of POAs by legally incompetent persons is the acquisition of guardianship or even conservatorship to ensure the care and the management of your accounts while incompetent. Since the court is the only body that can provide guardianship, a patient’s health and finances will be protected.

POA Fraud

Power of attorney fraud is a situation where a senior is legally incompetent, but the person he or she trusts has the senior sign the POA, granting them power and control over their finances. It affects the senior’s estates, bank account, and other financial payments that the senior/ elderly receives.

What’s in a Medical/ Health POA

  • In this document, you have to specify your needs to be effectuated upon your incapacitation. Some of the things that you want to be covered in the POA include:
    • Whether or not you want pain relief medication or procedures
    • Your preferred life-sustenance option – mechanical ventilation, tube feeding, or CPR among others.
    • The measures you want taken should you be brain dead – do you want to be kept on life support
    • After-life procedures – how do you wish to be disposed of – cremation, burial, or used in medical research).

The most important bit about the POA for a patient is their protection. By ensuring that they only sign the document when mentally and legally competent, cases of fraud will reduce, and the interests of the patient protected.

For a legal power of attorney with patient protection terms acceptable in your state, download our free power of attorney form here today.