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Other Names: Healthcare POA Healthcare power of attorney Medical POA Healthcare Proxy
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What is a Medical Power of Attorney (PoA)?

A Healthcare aka Medical Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives a trusted person or entity the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf, if you are incapacitated or cannot do so on your own. 
This person, called an "agent," will be able to make choices for you such as whether you should be admitted into a care facility, whether you'll receive experimental treatments, or if your medical providers will be allowed to connect you to machines to keep you alive. 
Made for all states, the Medical PoA forms from Rocket Lawyer can be completely customized for your particular situation. With this official legal document on hand, your agent can provide confirmation to healthcare providers and other parties that they can legally act in your interest.

When to use a Medical Power of Attorney:

  • You want to specify your wishes so that it is more likely they will be carried out.
  • You are facing the possibility of surgery or a hospitalization.
  • You have declining health.
  • You have been diagnosed with a terminal condition.

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Healthcare Power of Attorney

Medical Power of Attorney FAQs

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  • How do I get a Medical Power of Attorney?

    It's very simple to give or get the authority you need with a free Healthcare Power of Attorney template from Rocket Lawyer:

    1. Make the document - Just answer a few questions and we will do the rest
    2. Send or share it - Discuss the PoA with your agent(s) or seek legal help
    3. Sign it - Mandatory or not, witnesses and notarization are ideal

    This method, in many cases, will be much less expensive than meeting and hiring the average law firm. If necessary, you can prepare this medical PoA on behalf of a family member, and then help that person sign once you've drafted it. Please keep in mind that for a PoA form to be legally valid, the principal must be mentally competent at the time of signing. In the event that the principal is already unable to make their own decisions, a conservatorship generally will be required. When dealing with such a scenario, it's important for you to talk to a lawyer .

  • What is the difference between an a Healthcare Proxy and a Healthcare Power of Attorney?

    In the process of researching the topics of elder care or estate planning, you might see "healthcare proxy" and "healthcare power of attorney" used interchangeably. At the end of the day, they're the same. That being said, please keep in mind that it's absolutely possible to get power of attorney over affairs that aren't related to medical care, in which case, "proxy" is not normally used.

  • Who should have a Medical Power of Attorney?

    Everyone over 18 years old should have a Healthcare Power of Attorney. Even though it can be painful to think about, there could come a day when you are no longer able to make your own medical decisions. Common circumstances in which you may consider a PoA to be helpful include:

    • You are getting older or dealing with ongoing health issues
    • You live in or intend to move into a community care facility
    • You will be expecting to undergo a medical procedure requiring anesthesia
    • You are managing a terminal illness

    Regardless of whether your Healthcare PoA has been produced as a result of an unexpected emergency or as part of a forward-looking plan, witnesses and/or notarization can often help to protect your document if its lawfulness is disputed by a third party.

  • What decisions do I need to make before making a Medical Power of Attorney?

    There are a few questions you should ask yourself before making your Medical Power of Attorney. While this document does not dictate exactly what medical choices are made for you, it does appoint someone to make those choices for you.

    You may ask yourself:

    • Who should be my agent(s)?
    • Do I want my agent to have access to my medical records?
    • Can my agent admit me to a long-term care facility?
    • Are there any additional authorizations I want to give them? Such as, can they consent to an autopsy?
    • Will my agent also be my guardian?
    • Can my agent consent for me to participate in medical research or clinical trials?
    • Can they authorize the donation of my organs?
    • Who should be my witness(es)?
  • Who should I appoint as my Healthcare PoA agent?

    Choosing an agent can be difficult. Often spouses or siblings have a hard time making difficult decisions on behalf of a loved one. Plus, you need someone who understands the responsibility of being a healthcare agent and who is willing to accept the task. You need someone confident and assertive enough to enforce your wishes, which may be against the wishes of loved ones or their own beliefs.

    It may be difficult to find one person who fits your criteria. To make it even more challenging, you actually should consider appointing two agents. You need two agents in case the first one cannot, for whatever reasons, fulfill their duties. It is also helpful if your agent lives close enough to be there when you need them.

  • Do I need to hire a lawyer to review my Medical PoA?

    Healthcare Power of Attorney forms are normally simple to make , but you or your agent(s) may need legal advice. Depending on whom you contact, some attorneys may not even accept requests to review a document that they did not draft. A better approach might be through the On Call network. By signing up for a Premium membership, you have the ability to request feedback from an attorney with relevant experience or pose additional legal questions related to your Healthcare PoA. As always, Rocket Lawyer is here for you.

  • How much does a Power of Attorney form for health care cost?

    The cost of hiring and working with a legal provider to draft a medical Power of Attorney can total between $200 and $500. Rocket Lawyer is not your average Power of Attorney template website. With us, anyone under a Premium membership has access to up to 40% in savings when hiring an attorney from our Rocket Lawyer attorney network.

  • What are my next steps after I make a Medical Power of Attorney?

    With a Premium membership, you will be able to edit it, save it in PDF format or as a Word document, and print it out. In order to make your Power of Attorney legally binding, you need to sign it. Your agent(s) and care providers should receive copies of your final document.

  • Does a Medical Power of Attorney need to be notarized, witnessed, or recorded?

    The specifications and restrictions vary by state; however, it is strongly recommended to have your Healthcare aka Medical Power of Attorney acknowledged by a notary public and/or signed by at least one witness to emphasize its authenticity. For the most part, each witness should be an adult of sound mind (meaning sane or rational) and have no interest in your estate. Some states may have one or more of the following restrictions, meaning a witness cannot be:

    • Related to you by blood or marriage
    • Entitled to any part of your estate
    • A beneficiary of your life insurance or other type of payout
    • Financially benefited by your death
    • Financially responsible for your medical care
    • One of your healthcare providers
    • The agent or backup agent
  • How long is a Healthcare Power of Attorney good for?

    The Healthcare Power of Attorney lasts for as long as the document specifies. For example, the person who created the document, could include that the authority lasts only until they are out of surgery and have recovered from anesthesia. Alternatively, if the document only becomes active upon the incapacitation of the principal, and the document does not contain an end date, then the Medical Power of Attorney will continue for the duration of the principal's life.

  • Is a POA responsible for medical bills?

    In some cases, a Healthcare Power of Attorney grants control over financial accounts in order to pay medical bills and other obligations. However, the person making decisions is doing so as an agent on behalf of the person granting the authority. The agent may not become personally responsible for medical bills, unless some kind of negligence or recklessness occurs.

Learn more about Medical Power of Attorneys in your state

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