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Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
- What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a document executed by a competent person (the "Principal") giving another person (the "Agent" or the “Attorney-in-Fact”) the authority to make health care decisions for the Principal if the Principal is unable to communicate such decisions themself.
- Why have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
In case you ever become incapacitated, it is important that someone has the legal authority to communicate your wishes concerning medical treatment. This is true especially if you were to disagree with family members or they were to disagree among themselves about your treatment. By executing a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, you ensure that the directions that you have given your Attorney-in-Fact will be carried out in the event of such disagreement.
- Who should I appoint as my Attorney-in-Fact?
Since your Attorney-in-Fact is going to have the authority to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to make such decisions yourself, it should be a family member or friend that you trust will follow your wishes. Before executing a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, you should talk to the person you want to name as your Attorney-in-Fact about your wishes concerning medical decisions, especially life-sustaining treatment.
- Should I have a Health Care Directive (Living Will)?
A Health Care Directive provides your Attorney-in-Fact with instructions on what type of care you would like. It may include specific instructions concerning the initiation or termination of life-sustaining treatment or a broader statement granting general authority for all health care decisions that are important to you.
- When does a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care take effect?
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care can be effective immediately upon signature or only upon subsequent incapacity. Regardless of when a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care takes effect, granting authority to your Attorney-in-Fact does not take away your authority regarding your health care decisions. Your Attorney-in-Fact is empowered to speak on your behalf when you require medical treatment and are unable to make or communicate your wishes concerning your treatment known.
- Who should have a copy of my Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
Your Attorney-in-Fact and your physician should have a copy with your medical records. If you are admitted to a hospital or nursing facility, the facility should put a copy in your records upon admission.
- How can I get a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
If you would like to discuss questions about Durable Powers of Attorney, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509.468.0551.