In the past few years, with the mass legalization of LGBTQ marriage, same-sex couples have begun tying the knot more often. One of the positive side-effects of this is that it can help them if one has a medical emergency. If only direct family members are allowed to visit or make medical decisions, a married couple has a clearly-defined relationship that gives them these abilities.
That said, not all couples have chosen to get married. That’s fine, and they may be even more committed than many married couples, with a history together that stretches back years or even decades.
What is a problem, though, is that not having a legally-defined relationship can make things harder in these medical situations. Remember that the law doesn’t recognize couples who are dating or living together as official couples, even if that’s how they see themselves. That’s where a power of attorney comes into play.
You can use the power of attorney to specify that your partner is the one who gets to make decisions for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re married or not. You can give them the ability to talk to the doctors and make choices if you lack the ability to do so — if you get into a car accident, for instance, and you are in a coma. If you can make the decisions on your own, the power of attorney does not override that, but it ensures that someone you love and trust is making those choices if need be.
As you can see, it’s crucial for all couples to know exactly what legal options they have and what types of planning they need to do in advance.