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Health Care Power of Attorney: Written legal documents will ensure your wishes are followed by those making decisions with and for you.

Mature couple talking to daughter

END-OF-LIFE AND HEALTH CARE DECISIONS ARE PERSONAL. They are based upon our family and life experiences, spiritual and religious beliefs, and knowledge gained throughout life. You may have shared feelings about medical and end-of-life issues with your health care providers, family and friends. However, when it comes to the legalities surrounding formal decision-making, talking simply isn’t enough. If you should become incapacitated or have difficulty communicating when a decision needs to be made, your health care wishes need to be in writing. Written legal documents will ensure your wishes are followed by those making decisions with and for you.

One challenge often encountered is the difference in terminology used by the legal profession and health care providers. Many of us have heard about or seen different forms on the Web, in hospitals or physicians’offices. Some documents are the latest versions, while others may not be recognized by health care providers. The documents may also not adequately communicate your wishes.

To address these concerns, several organizations have collaborated to develop a model Health Care Power of Attorney (Form A) for Montanans. They have also created two optional forms (Form B and Form C) along with a worksheet. These forms should be used to appoint health care agent(s) and assist others in understanding your health care preferences.

This publication specifically explains a Health Care Power of Attorney for Montanans.

The publication is available in several formats:

1. On line: https://store.msuextension.org/publications/FamilyFinancialManagement/EB0231ADA.pdf

2. Hard copies may be ordered here: https://store.msuextension.org/Products/Health-Care-Power-of-Attorney-and-Related-Documents-for-Montanans-EB0231__EB0231.aspx

3. In a fillable form: http://www.montana.edu/estateplanning/documents/hoaforms.pdf

4. From your local county Extension Offices

Find more Montana Estate Planning Publications from MSU Extension here >>

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