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Power of Attorney

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You have a right to decide what kind of medical treatment you do and do not want. If you have specific wishes about your health care, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care will ensure that those wishes are honored even if you are physically or mentally unable to tell your doctors what you want.

Even if you do not have specific wishes about your health care, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care will ensure that someone you trust will make your medical decisions if you cannot do so.


What happens if I do not have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?


If you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and are physically or mentally unable to tell your doctors what you want, the following people, in order of priority, are legally authorized to make your health care decisions for you:

  • Your court-appointed guardian or conservator;
  • Your spouse or domestic partner;
  • Your adult child;
  • Your adult sibling;
  • A close friend; or
  • Your nearest living relative.


How will my agent know what I want?

You must say so in writing. When you make a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, you can:

  • State when you do or do not want your doctors to use machines to keep you alive;
  • State when you do or do not want to be hooked up to feeding tubes that provide you with food and water;
  • Tell your agent how you want your body disposed of when you die;
  • State whether you want to donate any organs; and
  • Name a person you want to be your legal guardian, if necessary.


What is the difference between a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and a Living Will?

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care allows you to appoint a person or persons to make health care decisions if you cannot act for yourself. A Living Will simply states your wish to have certain types of care withheld or withdrawn in specific situations, such as if you have a terminal condition or are in a permanent coma. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is broader because it can apply to any condition you may have or treatment you may need.