Your Doctor Just Asked You For The Other Half of Your Medical Power of Attorney, Your Response Is?
Most of the people I work with already have a health care Power of Attorney complete, but in case you’re one of the ones who has not done this yet let’s start with why you need to get this done yesterday. Why do you need a Health Care Power of Attorney? It’s in case you get ill or have an accident and suddenly become unable to speak for yourself. Maybe you had a stroke or you’re in a coma or your dementia has left you in a state where you just can’t make medical decisions for yourself anymore. When this happens, who will speak for you? Who will carry out your wishes? Who will make sure that you don’t linger on when all of your quality of life has passed? These are difficult decisions and hard to face and for this reason many people put off doing the necessary paperwork. And who can blame them? This is not fun stuff to think about. But would you want the court system to assign someone to speak on your behalf or would you rather chose that person for yourself? That is what having an up to date Health Care Power of Attorney can do for you. It tells your doctors and care takers who you are leaving in charge of your important health care decisions if you are not able to handle them yourself.
So now that we know this is pretty important stuff to take care of, why do I ask if yours is only half way compete? It’s because that is exactly the case for most people I meet with. You see many people have a POA all filled out but that only fixes half of the problem. For example, let me take you through a quick scenario. My Doctor tells me that I have a very difficult illness ahead and that if left on my own I will become bed ridden and need everything done for me within the next 6 months. Then he tells me there are some options. There are some experimental treatments he could try but there is only a 50/50 chance they will help. In fact, there is a 50% chance it could help a lot but also a 50% chance the treatment itself could kill me. Wow! How difficult would that decision be for me? Do you think I might have to go home and sleep on it for a few nights? Or heck maybe I wouldn’t get much sleep at all. Now let’s take that same decision only this time I am incapacitated and now the doctor is asking my wife who is my POA if he should preform that procedure on me. How much harder did that decision just become? Way harder, right? And do you think everyone in my family is likely to agree with her decision? Might my sister or my mother have an opinion on what she should do? Is it likely that my kids would agree with her or might they have different ideas? But who is the person left in the middle of all of that? That’s right my wife! And then if she makes the choice to go ahead and it ends badly, what will she have to live with? Yes! Guilt! And how long will she have that hanging over her? FOREVER! Wow! I left her in charge because I love her but what did I just do to her? What kind of a mess did I leave her with?
That is why I have all of my clients fill out the second part of a POA called a Quality of Life Directive. This is a document that is often missed by attorneys because it’s not a legal document. It’s usually something your hospital or health care worker might recommend. Unfortunately, many people don’t hear about it until it’s too late. Other people tell me they have a Living Will so they are all taken care of. Yes, a Living Will can be a good tool but they seldom go into the detail that a good Quality of Life Directive will go into. Now if you are one of our clients there is a good chance I have already had you fill one of these out. If you did not do it yet please get on it, or call me for a new one if you need it. Please let this article along with my quarterly phone calls be a reminder for you. And if you are not one of our clients and your current Advisor has not brought this to your attention, why not come meet with me for a Second Opinion Account Review and see what else may be missing from your current plan? There is no charge to meet and nothing to buy at this point. Set up a meeting this month and I will give you a FREE Quality of Life Directive just for coming in to chat.
What happens at one of these complimentary strategy sessions? My job is to help you make educated decisions about your money that feel right to you. That might include not changing anything or doing anything different if that is what feels right. My job is NOT to wrestle you into some financial product or strategy that makes you feel uncomfortable. And if at the end of our session you decided to take my advice and do it yourself or bring it back to your current advisor that is your option. We will still part friends, I promise.
Typically, we will sit down together for about an hour or so and my goal will be to answer as many questions for you as I can. During our session, we will likely uncover several ideas that could put you thousands of dollars ahead, or we will expose several big mistakes that could easily be avoided. There is NO cost for this meeting and nothing to buy at this point.
Does this sound like something that would be helpful to you? If so be sure to book your strategy session today!
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