What is a Healthcare/Medical Power of Attorney?

An individual (the “principal”) can grant power to another person (“the agent”) through a legal document to make decisions about the principal’s health care and medical treatment. Because “health care” means any treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose or treat your physical or mental condition, your agent has the power to make a broad range of health care decisions for you.

Your agent’s authority begins when your doctor certifies that you lack the capacity to make health care decisions. Even after you have signed a medical power of attorney, you have the right to make health care decisions for yourself as long as you are able to do so, and treatment cannot be given to you or stopped over your objection.