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Akron, Cleveland Estate Planning Attorney Explains Health Care Power Of Attorney

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Akron, Cleveland Estate Planning Attorney Explains Ohio Health Care Power Of Attorney

In our experience assisting clients in and around Akron, Hudson, Cleveland, Westlake, and Independence, Ohio, we hear many questions about the very important Ohio Health Care Power Of Attorney (HCPOA).  Here we answer some of these questions.

The Basics

One important part of any estate plan is the Heath Care Power Of Attorney, also known as part of Advance Directive planning, along with a Living Will. A Health Care Power Of Attorney allows you to name someone you trust to speak to your doctors on your behalf about how you wish to be treated, if you are incapacitated and can’t communicate with your doctors yourself. In Ohio, to designate someone to make important medical decisions on your behalf while you are incapacitated you will need to execute an HCPOA. The person you name to do this is referred to as your health care “agent”. You may also name alternate agents, in case your initial agent is unable to serve for any reason.

In your HCPOA, you can decide which health care choices your agent will make for you. You can give your agent broad authority to make important decisions about your medical treatment.  You can clarify particular procedures or treatments you want your agent to be able to authorize for you.

Requirements For An Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney

An Ohio HCPOA (governed by O.R.C. Section 1337.11 – 1337.16) must be signed and dated by you and either two witnesses or a Notary Public. Your witnesses cannot be an agent named in the document, and cannot be related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption. Your attending physician or an administrator at your nursing home (if you are living in one) also cannot serve as witnesses.

When Your Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney Takes Effect

An Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney is often called “durable,” meaning that it remains in effect during your incapacity. It initially becomes effective when you are no longer able to make decisions about your health care. The determination of your incapacity is made by your physician, and should also be verified by another physician. This is different than a Living Will, which goes into effect only if you are permanently unconscious or terminally ill.

Expressing Your Wishes

Your Ohio HCPOA authorizes your health care agent to make the necessary decisions that you have designated. Here are some examples of things you can specify in your Ohio Health Care Power Of Attorney

  • Whether or not to perform any treatment or procedure, or prescribe any medication for you, including any diagnostic tests, or whether or not to use life-support equipment
  • Selection of doctors to treat you
  • Whether you wish be resuscitated if you have stopped breathing or your heart stops
  • Whether you wish to receive nutrition and hydration if you are unable to eat or drink. 

How To Get Your Ohio Health Care Power Of Attorney

Because these are important decisions you need to make when doing your estate planning, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to prepare your HCPOA and ensure that it is executed properly. For more information about estate planning, see our Estate Planning – Wills and Trusts page. Valente Law has its main office in Hudson, with additional offices in Westlake, Beachwood and Brooklyn Heights.  Wherever are in the Cleveland, Akron area, we have an office nearby. If you have questions about preparing an HCPOA or are looking for an experienced estate planning attorney in Summit County, Cuyahoga County, or Medina County to help you or a loved one prepare an HCPOA, please contact us for more information.

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