Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Oregon

Q: In California can friends make end of life decisions based on an emergency contact when the next of kin is available.

If there is no power of attorney or will. Even after in the beginning the friend was allowed to make decisions for the family member when the said patient first was in the hospital?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Steven Leskin
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  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: A "friend", whether it is a romantic partner or a life long friend or even man's best friend, has no rights to make end of life decisions unless that person is named in an advance directive as the decision maker. The hospital will have a procedure it follows for making these crucial decision in the absence of a spouse or parent (or sibling). That procedure may involve seeking input from a friend, but the friend does not have the right to make those decisions.

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