Table of Contents
- Download a Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney Sample
- What is a Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney?
- Who Should Have a Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney?
- How to Select Your Agent(s)
- Which Decisions Can Your Agent Make On Your Behalf?
- What to Do if You Change Your Mind
- How to Complete Your Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney
1. Download a Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney Sample
2. What is a Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney?
As a key element of the estate planning process, your Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney helps you direct your treatment in the event you become incapacitated.
Often referred to as a Louisiana Living Will Declaration, this key form enables you to make important decisions regarding life-sustaining treatments and agent selection in the state of Louisiana. By making your intentions clear, you can avoid suffering unwanted treatments should you ever become incapable of communicating your wishes.
While completing your Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney, you’ll encounter the following key terms — as defined in Title 40 Chapter 1151.1 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes:
- Attending physician: The primary doctor responsible for your care.
- Declarant: The person who drafts the medical power of attorney and the person who will be impacted if/when the form is executed. If you intend to create a medical power of attorney in Louisiana, you will be the declarant.
- Life-sustaining procedure: Any treatment intended to prolong the dying process for somebody with a terminal condition, but one not deemed necessary to provide comfort. Typically, life-sustaining treatments include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the administration of hydration or nutrition.
- Terminal and irreversible condition: A continual, profound comatose state, or an incurable condition caused by disease, injury, or illness. Somebody with a terminal and irreversible condition is not expected to recover.
- Qualified patient: An individual certified and diagnosed as having a terminal condition. To be deemed ‘qualified’ the diagnosis must be made by two physicians who have examined the patient. One of these healthcare professionals must be the patient’s attending physician.
3. Who Should Have a Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney?
As an adult residing in Louisiana, you would be well-served to create a medical power of attorney. It’s never too early to create your own Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney, because as grim as it sounds, the future is uncertain for everyone. The sooner you draft and execute this critical estate planning document, the sooner you can enjoy the peace of mind it delivers.
This form can provide valuable protection to any Louisiana resident, regardless of age or current health status. A Louisiana Health Care Power of Attorney is worth considering if you can relate to any of the following situations:
- You have recently retired
- You have welcomed a child into your family through birth or adoption
- A loved one has recently passed away
- You have been diagnosed with a serious illness or condition
It is also common for Louisiana residents to create medical powers of attorney upon witnessing loved ones drafting their own. Many decide to create these documents after being named agents in other powers of attorney.
4. How to Select Your Agent(s)
Few decisions outlined in your Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney are more influential or more important than the designation of your agent. Sometimes referred to as a representative, this person is responsible for making healthcare decisions on your behalf.
These choices are challenging, and deciding who should be called upon for this important job is often difficult.
Considerations worth making as you select the ideal agent for your Louisiana Health Care Power of Attorney include:
- Is this person old enough? Is he or she mature? Age is certainly a factor, as only adults can serve as agents. Beyond that, however, your selected agent must be mature enough to handle the emotional weight of any difficult decisions they may have to make in the future.
- Does this person hold similar religious or moral convictions? While your agent need not hold identical religious beliefs as yourself, a similar worldview can make it easier for this person to make decisions which are in line with your stated wishes. If you and your agent hold opposing viewpoints, you should be able to feel confident that he or she would set those issues aside in order to properly execute their role as your medical power of attorney agent.
- Does this person have your best interests at heart? Can he or she reliably act in a way that will be of the greatest benefit to you when you are no longer able to advocate for yourself?
In addition to your primary agent, you are allowed to designate a successor agent. This person will take over responsibility for your care if your original agent is unavailable or unable to carry out this important role.
The same considerations used to determine your initial agent should be employed when designating a successor.
5. Which Decisions Can Your Agent Make On Your Behalf?
The strategic nature of the agent selection process will pay off once this person takes over your care. Your agent will hold considerable authority as soon as you are deemed incapacitated.
Specifically, your agent is allowed to:
- Grant, refuse, or withdraw healthcare procedures even if such action could lead to your death
- Make decisions about prescription medications
- Authorize your admission to or departure from any healthcare facility or nursing home
- Receive information about your previous medical records and current medical care
- Sign any forms necessary to complete the above actions
6. What to Do if You Change Your Mind
It’s perfectly normal to have second thoughts after completing a Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney. Your original document is not set in stone, so you can make changes as needed or even revoke the entire form altogether.
Acceptable methods for changing your medical power of attorney, outlined in Title 40 Chapter 1151.3 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, include:
- A written document declaring your intent to revoke the original form
- An “oral or nonverbal expression” that makes your intention to revoke known
- Obliteration or defacement of the original document
- Directing somebody else to destroy or deface the document if you are unable to do so on your own
Notify your attending physician as soon as you have destroyed your original document or created a new one. Once the notification of revocation is received, your attending physician will add this development to your medical records.
7. How to Complete Your Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney
As soon as you feel confident with your completed Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney, a few specific steps are required to ensure its validity.
Your document does not hold legal sway until it is signed by two witnesses. According to Title 40 Chapter 1151.2 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, your witnesses must certify that they know you personally and believe that you are of sound mind at the time of the document’s signing.
Signing before a notary public is recommended but not required. Once you have completed your medical power of attorney, you are responsible for notifying your attending physician of its existence.
Your Louisiana Medical Power of Attorney is worth the effort that it takes to create and execute. This document will ensure that you receive exactly the right long-term quality of care, and provide you with the confidence needed to take on the future.