Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

By Christopher B. Fagan and Jared Laskin

..........If you are living in a committed non-marital relationship, you may want to have your partner -- rather than your immediate family -- make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. You can accomplish this goal through a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.

..........A durable power of attorney for health care is a document which nominates your partner or another person as your "agent" to act for you in making most health care decisions if you are incapacitated. This document can also contain instructions to your agent regarding your desires. For example, it can state whether or not you want your physician to "pull the plug" if you have a terminal illness, or if you are in a coma or a vegetative state. It can state which types of treatments you wish to have provided, and which types you wish to have withheld. (You can also sign a separate Directive to Physicians containing similar instructions.)

..........While there are commercially available forms for Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Directives to Physicians, as with any very important legal document it is wise to consult with an attorney. For assistance in finding an attorney, see Attorney Listings and "Finding and Working with Lawyers" in the Resources section.

..........The information on this Web page is based on California law.  It is not legal advice and cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your State based on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. See Disclaimer.