Texas Medical Power Of Attorney

Q: I have several legal questions on medical directives that I'll ask one at a time. Specifically for Texas, I understand that I would use a Medical Power of Attorney to designate somebody to decide when and if to end life support machinery and permit me to die. I believe in Texas that if there is no Medical Power of Attorney, then the doctor(s) must consult with the next of kin. This amounts to a default Medical Power of Attorney. I thought that for me the default would be adequate, however, a health care person informed me that in case of family squabbles it is not as empowering as an actual Medical Power of Attorney. Any comments ? I should think that if people are going to squabble it wouldn't matter how athoritative a directive is. Was the health care person correct?

A: Who is to say who is the most "next" of the next of kin? I would prepare BOTH a Health Care Directive and a Medical Power of Attorney (I have). The advantage of the HCD is that it takes some of the 'heat' off the person with the Medical Power of Attorney if your next of kin start squabbling (and don't think they won't when emotions are in play). Be sure to consider your Medical Power of Attorney from time to time, the best person today may not be the best choice five years from now. There may be decisions that can be taken by someone with a Medical Power of Attorney that cannot be made otherwise (other than by the patient, who I'm assuming is incompetent at this point).

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