Skip to Content
Klenk Law

What is a Medical Power of Attorney and How Does It Affect Me?

Posted on Fri Mar 16, 2018, on Medical Power of Attorney Living Will

A Medical Power of Attorney is a document that is signed by a principal.  This signer must be a competent adult. The document directs a person that the principal trusts to act as an agent and make healthcare decisions on the principal’s behalf should the principal be unable to make them for themselves. This document is valid immediately.  Once signed by witnesses or notarized it will continue indefinitely unless there is a specific termination date stated.

What Can a Health Care Agent Do?

The agent can make decisions on a wide array of issues.  The document covers most everything except committing the principal to a mental institution, convulsive treatment, psychosurgery, abortion, or the neglect of comfort care.

How Do I Revoke a Power of Attorney?

The principal may revoke the Medical Power of Attorney by notifying the agent or physician either orally or in writing. In some cases, this is unnecessary. For example, if the agent was the spouse of a principal, a divorce between the two revokes the Medical Power of Attorney.

What if I am Young and Health?

Obtaining a Medical Power of Attorney may not seem necessary to one who is young and healthy.  However, accidents happen every day. Having an appointed agent allows this trusted person to make decisions regarding your critical medical issues. It is essential that the agent be someone who shares your values. Your agent must know your basic medical history. There is also an option to have an alternate agent. This way, if your primary choice is unavailable, you have a backup.

Who Can Serve as Agent?

Anyone can be an agent.  In some states do exclude some people. For example, the principal’s physician or healthcare provider. Others prohibit the physician/provider’s employees (unless they are family). Further exclusions include residential care providers.

Where Do I Get a Texas Medical Power of Attorney?

Contact: the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, local hospital, long­-term care facility, physician, attorney, or any other state health organization. There must be two witnesses present at the time of the signing of the document.  Or the principal may sign it and have it notarized by a public notary. At least one of the witnesses cannot be the agent designated. Or a spouse or relative by blood, attending physician, entitled to the principal’s estate, or an employee at the place where the principal is a patient/ a person providing direct care to the patient.

The principal’s physician and their employees must follow the directive.  The guideline is to the agent’s consistency of the desires of the principal, law, and Medical Power of Attorney. If the physician does not wish to follow an agent’s decision, the physician must inform the agent as soon as possible, which allows for the agent to select another physician who is willing to follow the directives of the agent.

What if the Physician Does Not want to Remove Life Support?

In the instance that a physician does not wish to remove life­-sustaining treatment to a principal, but the agent wishes to withdraw the treatment, there is a specific procedure, as an estate planning lawyer Arlington TX can explain. First, the physician’s decision an ethics or a medical committee review the decision. The physician nor the agent may attend. After the ethics or medical committee makes its determination, it provides the agent with an explanation of the decision. If the agent or the physician disagrees with the decision, the physician or provider must transfer the patient to a physician who is willing to comply with the agent. If those involved correctly follow these procedures, the healthcare provider and physicians are immune to disciplinary action, civil liability, and criminal liability.

On the other hand, if the agent wishes to continue life­-sustaining treatment and the physician does not, similar procedures exist. During the meeting of the ethics or medical committee, the agent may attend. Once making the decision, if the agent disagrees he may transfer the patient to another physician.  This new physician will continue providing life-sustaining treatment. However, after the 10th day has passed following the agent’s notification if the patient remains, the physician who decided that they did not want to continue life-sustaining treatment is not obligated to maintain it. If this procedure is correctly followed, the hospital and its physicians cannot receive disciplinary action.  Further, there is no civil or criminal liability.

Ethics or Medical Committee:

If there is no ethics or medical committee review, the physician and hospital do not receive immunity. Agents can also review and receive information about the principal’s mental and physical condition. They must execute release required to obtain this information. And they must consent to the disclosure of information. If acting under good faith an agent is not criminally liable.

It is important to obtain a Medical Power of Attorney before you have entered the hospital. Once you need one, it might be too late.  This prevents added stress when you are already struggling. This document is easy to obtain. The document allows you to have peace of mind. You then know that you will be taken care of properly. Even if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into the medical power of attorney.

 

What Our clients are saying

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter was excellent. He explained everything very clearly and is super friendly. My wife and I originally tried using a lawyer through group legal coverage, but unfortunately the old adage - "you get what you pay for" - applied to the other lawyer, and we decided to go with a real professional.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

When it came down to picking the right attorney to handle my affairs, I knew right away it was this firm. From speaking to their secretary to speaking to Peter I knew I was making the right decision. After only a few mins Peter knew right away what I was looking for and handled all my questions professionally and even gave me great feedback that put my mind at ease. All that without even giving a single penny! So of course I hired him! So far so good...

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

AWESOME LAWYER! Peter Klenk is an exceptional attorney and a very nice person! Today I spoke with Peter about estate planning and was impressed with by his professionalism, cordiality, and attention to detail. I highly recommend Klenk Law for probates, wills, trusts, and other issues germane to estate planning!

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Great friendly staff

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Tremendous firm with bright, kind and tenacious people. Great representation for our family.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

I'm totally satisfied with Klenk Law. Peter has a great legal mind with the personality of the guy next door.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Everything about my experience was a 10+! Peter and his staff made what I thought would be a difficult process easy and understandable. Every detail was handled correctly. No other firm could possibly do better than Klenk Law!

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter and his staff are very responsive and always willing to help my clients and in a cost efficient manner.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Like another reviewer, I contacted Peter through his website using the free consultation link, for a question regarding PA inheritance taxes. The question was quite technical and difficult to explain, and the answer was nowhere to be found on the web. Peter grasped precisely what I was asking, and provided a clear, helpful response (with a touch of humor) the very next day.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Answered my question quickly and referred me to a colleague that could handle my problem

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Mr. Klenk, quickly understood the circumstances presented and provided clear and concise advice. This advice provided me with the information I required to progress the case to my advantage.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter is excellent. I had a very complicated situation with my parents' estate planning and potential Medicaid needs. Peter was very knowledgeable in estate planning matters, able to define the best solution for the situation. Additionally, he was congenial and able to communicate effectively to my senior citizen parents the benefits of estate planning. He earned my trust, and more importantly, my parents' trust in a 45 mins consultation period. Highly recommend Peter. He is very easy to work with.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter recently gave a presentation about Wills & Trusts at my employer, and it was fantastic! He was extremely knowledgeable and provided valuable information to the group. People were very engaged and asked several questions, all of which Peter thoroughly answered. Personally, my husband and I have selected Peter to help us with our estate planning, and he has been very helpful in providing us with all of the information we need to provide a secure future for our family. Thank you, Peter!

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter provided outstanding advice and preparation of a will and trusts.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter explained things in a way that was easy to understand. Everything was done in the time frame he said it. Could not have been better!

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

You & your staff are the best thank you for everything.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter and his staff handled all of our needs in a very professional and timely matter.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter Klenk made a complex subject understandable and allowed us to move forward with our estate planning. He was patient with our questions and creative in the solutions he proposed.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter explained a complex subject very clearly, helped us to decide the best approach to managing our estate and then made it very easy for us to execute the required documents. He will be a valuable resource for years to come and clearly has a great understanding of estate law that will lead to innovative solutions for us. I would unhesitatingly recommend him for estate planning.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Fantastic customer service. Very personable and most importantly they provide great explanations of what is required based on your individual needs. Highly recommend Klenk Law for anyone that needs to create a will and estate documents.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Always professional and very responsive. Everyone on the staff that I have worked with. I look forward to continuing our relationship.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Surprisingly easy

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Affable...yet surprisingly cerebral estate planning atty. High marks all the way around.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter and his associates made things easy for us.

Let us put our expertise to work for you.

Free consultation within 24 hours.