What Is a Medical Power of Attorney, and Why Do You Need One?

Advance Health Care Directive What Is a Medical Power of Attorney, and Why Do You Need One?

The Fundamentals of a Medical Power of Attorney

No one feels comfortable thinking about potential health issues, but it’s always recommendable to prepare yourself for such situations in advance. Many people decide to create a medical power of attorney to be on the safe side if a serious or terminal illness occurs.

If you don’t know much about this document but want to get more familiar with it, do so by exploring this comprehensive guide. We:

  • Give you a concise medical power of attorney definition
  • Explain:
    • When you need such a document
    • What powers you can transfer with a health care directive
    • Who can be your health care agent
    • How you can create a medical power of attorney yourself or use DoNotPay to have it drafted in minutes

What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?

A medical power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to choose an agent who will make health-related decisions for you if you’re unable to. Your health care agent must inform the medical staff about your preferred way of treatment if you are incapacitated or unable to think or speak clearly.


The document serves to:

  • Offer you peace of mind
  • Prevent doctors from forcing you to receive treatments or medications you don’t want
  • Ease pressure on friends or family members who would otherwise have to decide in your stead

Depending on the state you live in, the medical power of attorney can also be known as a living will, health care proxy, advance health care directive, or health care power of attorney. You must check your state’s legislature thoroughly to figure out which term(s) your state of residency uses.

To Whom Can You Transfer Powers With a Simple Health Care Power of Attorney?

Picking a health care agent is the most significant decision you will make when creating a medical power of attorney. It must be someone you trust with your life. Most people choose their friends or relatives as their attorneys-in-fact, but it’s also possible to assign the rights to your:

  • Spouse
  • Adult child
  • Long-term partner

What Powers Can You Transfer With a Medical Power of Attorney?

You can allow the chosen health care agent to make decisions related to:

  • Drug treatments you want or don’t want to receive
  • Surgeries you want or don’t want to undergo
  • Medical staff you want to be treated by
  • Places where the treatments will take place
  • Tube feeding
  • Organ donation
  • Comfort care
  • Resuscitation or disconnecting life support

How To Make a Medical Power of Attorney Yourself

Below is the table showing the steps to follow when making your power of attorney:

Step Details
Getting the necessary medical form You can:

  1. Choose an online template—This option is quick and affordable but unreliable, as online forms are usually outdated or too generic
  2. Download the official form of the state where you reside
  3. Compose the document yourself
  4. Hire an attorney to draft a medical directive in your stead—This method entails considerable fees
Fill out the form carefully All the details in your advance health care directive must be correct and up-to-date
Sign the document with the witnesses A medical power of attorney also needs to be signed and notarized in most states. The number of witnesses varies from state to state—ensure you have the accurate info

Get a Flawless Medical Power of Attorney With DoNotPay

DoNotPay has an ideal solution that allows you to plan your health care without bureaucratic hurdles. In only a few taps, you can get a medical power of attorney tailored to your needs and wishes.

Here’s what you need to do after you access DoNotPay from any preferred web browser:

  1. Find the Advance Health Care Directive product
  2. Enter the name of your agent and other requested medical information
  3. Tell us what powers you want to assign to your agent
  4. Name the witnesses who will confirm the legitimacy of the document

Are you curious to know more about medical power of attorney? Visit our learning center and discover:

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