Disability Insurance, Guardianship, Medical Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney, Uncategorized, Wealth

Fiction: My Spouse Will Make Medical Decisions for Me if I’m In a Coma

I know, I know. You’ve been married forever.

She’s the love of your life!

You and he have been paying all the bills jointly literally since day one.

30 years of bliss being married, and 30 more on the horizon. Congratulations.

But that does not necessarily mean you get to call the shots when a doctor is deciding how to treat your spouse who is now in a coma.

If a person is incapacitated in Texas, and there is no medical power of attorney, there is a list of people who make medical decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual. Specifically: a spouse, then adult children, then parents, then anyone else designated in writing can make decisions on the incapacitated individual’s behalf.

There are some concerns to that, however.

What happens in both spouses are incapacitated at the same time?

What if some of those adult children would make emotional and irrational decisions that you would not have wanted?

What if no one knows how to reach your spouse or the rest of the family due to no contact information?

What if no one knows your specific preferences for medical treatment? Some doctors may perform surgeries you do not morally agree with, or the doctors may keep you on ventilation or in a vegetative state on purpose, which could wipe out decades of savings.

It’s playing with fire to assume your spouse can save you if you were to ever fall into an incapacitated state.

But a good estate plan will include a medical power of attorney that designates trusted individuals who will make medical decisions on your behalf.

A good estate plan will also include an advance healthcare directive that will specifically tell the doctors how to treat you no matter what they think is best.

These documents (quite literally) can be life savers if done correctly.