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Understanding a medical durable power of attorney

When it comes time to create an estate plan, you need to think about more than what will happen when you pass on. You also need to think about the here and now, which includes your health. This is where a medical durable power of attorney comes into play.

A medical durable power of attorney is something you should add to your estate plan, as this document names a person to make health care decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so, such as due to a serious illness or injury.

You have the right to name anybody as your health care agent, as long as he or she is older than age 18, willing to be your agent, and mentally competent.

While it is not required, you should consider choosing an agent who lives in the same area, as this person may need to make important decisions at some point in the future.

Tip: You should appoint a back up agent in the event that your first choice is unable to perform his or her duties.

When creating a medical durable power of attorney, you need to remember that you are giving somebody the power to make important decisions. For this reason, you must trust the person 100 percent.

There are many benefits of a medical durable power of attorney, which is why most people add this to their estate plan in Colorado. If you don't have this document in place, now is the time to consider the benefits. It is something that could work in your favor if you become incapacitated and are unable to make your own decisions.

Source: Colorado Advanced Directives Consortium, "Your Right to Make Healthcare Decisions," accessed Feb. 16, 2016

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