Key document gives loved one power to make medical decisions

We all have the power to make our own choices, but when it comes to financial decisions, sometimes our word isn’t enough.

“For financial matters, it’s important that you be able to have someone who can step in on your behalf to take care in making decisions or taking care of the financial things that may be needed to be transferred or changed,” said Amber Suhas, investment officer at Central Pacific Bank.

While a general power of attorney gives another person the legal authority to act on your behalf when it comes to your finances, there is an additional document that addresses your health decisions: an advance health care directive.

“It takes the place of the old living will or power of attorney for medical decisions,” explained Suhas.

Many questions are answered within that document that your physician and hospital should have on file, such as is it alright for you to be sustained by artificial means? What about pain medication? What about whether or not you’re going to be an organ donor?

“If it’s not in place, you’re going to have a lot of problems because you’re going to have different people who are saying I can make that decision,” said Suhas. “You want to make that choice when you’re able to and it’s written there on who is going to make those medical decisions.”

You also never want to be in a position where no medical care can be given until that’s decided, Suhas says.

“Just like any of your documents, it’s updated because maybe the person you’ve named has passed away or is not able to make those decisions for you,” said Suhas.

It’s your choice, Suhas says, and you have a right to make sure your decisions are honored.

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