Why Medical POAs Are Essential for Young Adult Travelers

Young adults taking a selfie on a rocky cliff image represents young adults on spring break needing a medical power of attorney
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An estate plan lays out how you want your assets handled at your death or when you’re physically or mentally incapacitated. No wonder most people procrastinate creating one.

As spring break approaches, many young adults in New Mexico are gearing up for a week of fun. There’s one item they’re not packing in their suitcase but should – a medical/healthcare power of attorney (POA). Estate plans often include some type of POA that appoints someone to handle your financial affairs and make health-related decisions on your behalf. POAs are a great way to plan for the unexpected, allowing someone to step in if you are incapacitated.

The unexpected often happens when traveling for spring break or any other time, so a healthcare proxy or medical power of attorney should be on your vacation checklist. Young adults, let’s explore your POA options, choosing the one that’s right for you and how to get one.

Medical POAs Are a Spring Break Traveling Essential 

Imagine this: You’re off to Spain for spring break and become ill or are in an accident that leaves you incapacitated. You’re away from home and family and unable to make medical or healthcare decisions. A medical POA becomes necessary if you are in a coma from a brain injury or stroke, are not of sound mind with a mental health issue, or can’t communicate due to disease or dementia. Who decides what care you receive and where you’ll receive it? Having a medical or healthcare POA empowers the person you appointed to make decisions for you, including:

  • Medical treatments
  • Medication
  • Surgery
  • End-of-life care
  • The doctors and hospitals managing your care

POA Options For Young Adults in Las Cruces

Commonly seen in estate plans and often combined with financial POAs covering bank accounts and bill payments, you can choose a Medical or Healthcare POA. In some states, you can also add an Advance Healthcare Directive (AHCD) to a Living Will. Living wills provide written statements on your medical treatment if you can’t provide informed consent. Advance healthcare directives are legal documentation of your medical decisions. Your doctors and family know your choices on medical care in advance, for example, if you want or don’t want:

  • IV fluids
  • Feeding tubes
  • Antibiotics
  • Life support
  • CPR
  • Comfort care
  • Do Not Intubate (DNI)
  • Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)
  • Organ and tissue donation

Healthcare proxies (HCPs) name a “proxy” or another person to make medical decisions for you. Healthcare proxies can also be referred to as Healthcare Agents, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Durable Medical Power of Attorney, and Healthcare Surrogates. Read our blog, Las Cruces Advance Directives and Importance of Advance Care Planning to learn more about AHCDs.

Getting a Medical Power of Attorney

Getting a POA is as easy as contacting an attorney. Estate planning attorneys help you choose the right option, ensure all your wishes are considered and documented, and draft the legal documents that have you covered for the unexpected.

Whichever option you choose, POAs are a smart move for anyone over the age of 18. As you become an adult, and your parents or guardians can no longer make medical decisions for you, it’s a good idea to empower someone to act and decide on your behalf if the unthinkable happens.  Request a discovery call with Las Cruces estate planning attorney, Michele Ungvarsky  to get a medical power of attorney.