Who Will Make Medical Decisions When You Can’t?

Medical Power of Attorney & Advance Healthcare Directive in Maine


The proper management of health care decisions during your lifetime can save your family significant amounts of money–and conflict. Sometimes, families are torn apart by disagreements about what medical procedures to authorize on a parent who has become incapacitated. You can avoid these issues with health care powers of attorneys and living wills. These state your treatment and end of life preferences and name trusted people that you authorize to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

Planning a lifetime of healthcare


What is a medical power of attorney?


Also called healthcare power of attorney or durable power of attorney for health care, this document will designate a person that you trust to make healthcare related decisions for you if you become incapacitated. The person you designate to make these decisions is called an agent, attorney-in-fact, or surrogate, and they can only intervene once a medical doctor has determined that you are unable to communicate your wishes. The medical power of attorney is generally activated after a stroke, coma, or a traumatic head injury makes you incapable of communicating your wishes.

What is a health care directive?


Also called advance medical directive or living will, a health care directive allows you to state your preferences for medical treatment or end of life care if you fall into a terminal or permanently unconscious condition. In this directive, you can request that you not be kept on life support if you are brain dead, that you not be resuscitated if your heart stops, or that your organs be harvested upon your death.

In Maine, when you fill out your health care directive, you can also designate an agent to make medical treatment and end of life decisions on your behalf. By designating an agent to make these decisions, the advance healthcare directive essentially creates a medical power of attorney. You should leave copies of your advance directive with your primary care physician and the person you name as your agent.


What is a living will in Maine?


A living will is just another name for an Advance Health Care Directive, which is described above. A living will is not to be confused with a will or a living trust, which deal with your assets and property, as opposed to your medical or end-of-life care.


Why do I need a medical power of attorney or health care directive?

Decisions about medical treatment and end of life care can place a huge burden on your family. In addition to their grief and anguish, they will need to reach a decision on how best to resolve your situation. But people with different backgrounds, priorities, and religious beliefs can reach completely different conclusions in these cases. People have laid in a hospital bed, brain dead, and accumulating huge medical bills for years while their family argues about whether to continue or end treatment. Put simply, letting your wishes known and executing them through a legally binding document can save your family a lot of money and distress.


What Is a Guardianship in Maine?

A guardianship is when a person gives up their right to make personal and health care decisions. This usually occurs when someone loses their capacities due to illness or old age. A guardianship can only be created by a court, which names a suitable person–or in some states a corporation or state agency–to take over the ward’s affairs. In Maine, a probate court will create a guardianship if they see evidence that a person is incapacitated by illness or disability and that person is in need of protection of the court. A guardianship may be full or limited to only some areas of the ward’s life, depending on the evidence submitted to the court. When a guardianship is focused on someone’s financial affairs, it’s called a conservatorship.

If you have a family, you need a plan to save them from the heartache and stress of making important decisions for you if you become disabled. We can help.


At Jackson & MacNichol, we understand that estate planning can be a complicated and emotional process that quite literally will define your family’s future. That’s why we strive to focus on our individual clients’ needs, and are prepared to assist with every aspect of planning or settling an estate. We are always just one phone call away. For a free consultation about the estate planning process, call us today at 207-360-888


Sidebar Form
Scroll to Top
We would love to answer your estate planning questions or use this form to schedule a free consultation.
Popup Form