Phoenix, AZ asked in Health Care Law and Contracts for Arizona

Q: Can a power of Atty be changed while in the hospital

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer

A: As long as the grantor of the power of attorney (POA) has legal capacity and all statutory requirements in Arizona for execution of a POA are followed, it can be done.

When a person is in a hospital it is very important to have written evidence that at the time of execution of the POA the grantor was able to understand the content as well as the ramifications of executing the document. If the grantor is sedated or under any type of medication that can affect his cognitive abilities (mental capability that involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas,etc.) the POA can be contested and found invalid. If the execution of the document is properly planned and discussed with the attending physician, any medication that could affect the grantor's cognitive abilities can be temporarily suspended and the doctor can write a letter attesting to this and that in his professional opinion as attending physician, at the time of execution of the POA the grantor's cognitive abilities were not impaired. Some doctors are very explicit in this type of letters and others are not, following maybe a pre-designed short form used in their practice or hospital. Basically, the grantor needs to have legal capacity, a term that doctors do not use, but as long as you have written evidence the POA should survive any objection as to its validity. If the grantor is to be removed from medication, make sure that the time of execution is also recorded as it can be used in conjunction with hospital records to evidence what medications were given on a certain day and the time.

You should consult a local attorney that can draft a POA that would contain additional language to prevent any objections regarding the execution of the document.

My response provides only general information and is not intended to provide you with specific legal advice, nor create an attorney-client relationship. You should not use or rely on this information without first consulting with your own lawyer and discussing your specific facts and available options in detail.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.