Cordova, TN asked in Estate Planning and Health Care Law for Arkansas

Q: If a power of attorney is only good for financials in my state what do I need for healthcare decisions?

I’m an only child and my mother is widowed/not remarried. She is a type 2 diabetic with chronic related health issues due to noncompliance with her meds and eating habits.

2 Lawyer Answers
Theodore David Vicknair Sr.
Theodore David Vicknair Sr.
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Mandeville, LA

A: A "Health-Care Power of Attorney" is what you need and it is specifically authorized in statute by most states. It should be HIPAA compliant, and cover any and all medical prodedures and contingencies.

A "Health Care Directive" or "Living Will" is a narrower document generally covering end-of-life decisions, which is generally taken away from the Health Care POA. Basically, "If I am on a machine, take me off no matter what my family or Health-Care POA says". It is generally unnecessary if the Health Care POA is broad enough, and your Health-Care POA has been apprised of your wishes and you know that he or she is willing to carry them out.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: You need a medical power of attorney. This goes by many names. Some call it a durable power of attorney for healthcare.. Sometimes it is called an advance directive, which is a combination medical power of attorney and living will. Some states have statutory forms. In Arkansas it is called an appointment of healthcare agent. When a statutory form exists, that does not mean that is the ONLY form you can use in that state; it just means it is a form that will work for many situations. While there is no substitute for attorney-prepared medical and financial powers of attorney, tailored to your individual circumstances, statutory and other forms can be useful in a pinch. The Arkansas statutory forms can be found here:

https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/health-care-decision-forms

As you can see, these forms are VERY basic, but they might work for you.

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