Brookline, MA asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Health Care Law for Massachusetts

Q: Is there a "healthcare P.O.A" to designate someone to make medical decisions for you, if you are intact/alert?

I am 98.5 yrs old, visually impaired, and wish to have my daughter, who is a clinician make all medical decisions for me. I have executed a health care proxy and durable P.O.A., but they only are activated if I am unconscious or not intact mentally.

3 Lawyer Answers
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Howell, MI

A: MANY states require this be a 'springing' authority so that you have the 'final say' in any decision if you are capable of doing that. I'm not sure about MA but Michigan certainly does.

HOWEVER, if you are competent, you ALWAYS (in any state) have the option of bringing in someone you trust to help you make decisions. That person can even be in the room as the doctor does his/her examination if you so desire (and the facility has a room large enough to hold 3-4 people!). The doctors will likely want you to sign a 'waiver' of your HIPPA privacy rights to allow them to talk to your 'helper' but after that, you are free to allow that person to make decisions for you, and simply say 'I want to do that' to the doctor. This has a great advantage in that you also get to say 'well, no, I don't want to do that' if your daughter suggests something you really aren't comfortable with.

Talk with your doctor and ask that your daughter be brought into the decision making process. I bet he'll be happy to comply with that sort of request.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
Answered
  • Woburn, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Hello, if you are of sound mind you can execute a power of attorney which references more broad authority to the agent in fact than a health care proxy.

Jonathan R. Roth
Jonathan R. Roth
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Salem, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: MA allows you to have a DPOA with immediate effect, so you can amend your current DPOA to allow for immediate authority to act for you.

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