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FAQs About Powers of Attorney and Directives

Can I Get Medical Power of Attorney Over an Incapacitated Person?

by Rania Combs

A distraught mother contacted me. Her daughter was incapacitated in an intensive care unit as a result of a drug overdose, and her drug-addicted son-in-law was in control of making medical decisions for her.

Naturally she was concerned. She did not believe her son-in-law had the capacity to consider her daughter’s best interests. “How do I get a medical power of attorney over my daughter?” she asked.

A medical power of attorney allows individuals to specify who will make medical decisions for them if they are incapacitated and can’t make them for themselves; however, once they are incapacitated, they can no longer grant a power of attorney.

If there is no power of attorney, or if there is a power of attorney but the appointed agent is abusing his authority or is otherwise incapable of acting in the best interest of the incapacitated person, it is possible to ask a court to intervene and appoint a guardian. A person granted guardianship would then have the legal ability to make decisions pertaining to the matters over which guardianship is granted.

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