Give someone else the power to carry out your wishes and tell them exactly what your wishes are.
With a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care you give someone else the power to make health care decisions for you when you cannot. This legal document is beneficial in situations of sudden, unforeseen medical emergencies when you cannot make decisions, and where you are unable to manage your health care decisions because of planned operations or health care treatments.
In this document, you can make your wishes known on important topics including end-of-life care, independent living, and religious activities.
Below are some of the more commonly asked questions regarding a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare.
A durable power of attorney for healthcare, also called an advanced directive, living will, or an individual health care instruction, is a written instruction designating an agent to make health care decisions for the principal. It allows you to grant the authority in another person to make decisions regarding your health care when you are unable to do so.
A springing durable power of attorney for health care is one where the power you create in another person, your agent, becomes effective only once a licensed physician gives her or his written opinion that you lack the capacity to make your own health care decisions.
What authority will my agent have when the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care becomes effective?
The authority given to your agent once you are incapable of making your own health care decisions may include the following:
- Selecting and discharging health care providers and institutions
- Approving or disapproving of diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, and programs of medication
- Directions to provide, withhold, or withdraw artificial nutrition and hydration and all other forms of health care according to the wishes you make known in your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
- The power to make organ donations to an institution or individual for research or educational purposes, or a statement restricting such gifts.
- The power to dispose of your remains after death
- The power to authorize an autopsy
The person you will be giving the power to make the decisions regarding your health care and the power to carry out the wishes you have made known in your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care should be chosen with the following things in mind:
- Age and health of the agent
- The residence, or physical proximity, to you
- Whether the agent’s beliefs and values are consistent with yours, and if not, whether the agent will honor your wishes anyway
- Whether the agent will gain in any way from your death
You should give a copy of your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care to your primary doctor, your agent, your insurance carrier, and other appropriate persons or entities.
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care will not expire due to a lapse in time since its execution.