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Is the Authority to Make Medical Decision Part of a Power of Attorney?

Posted on: March 29th, 2021 by Chad Hill

As you plan for your future, you may wonder about all the references to your power of attorney. How much power exactly will your power of attorney have? Specifically, will your power attorney be able to make medical decisions for you? We’ll try to answer this question for you by explaining the different types of power of attorney.

There are five types:

  1. General Power of Attorney
  2. Medical Power of Attorney
  3. Durable Power of Attorney
  4. Special or Limited Power of Attorney
  5. Springing Power of Attorney

Which types of power of attorney can make medical decisions?

As you might guess from the name, the Medical Power of Attorney can make health care decisions for you when you have been declared mentally incompetent to do so yourself. A Medical POA can decide:

The Durable Power of Attorney can make medical decisions for you when you become incapacitated. The Durable POA can also make financial decisions.

General POA grants someone power to make financial, legal, and business-related decisions on your behalf. You might appoint a General POA if you are traveling abroad for a few months. If you become incompetent to make your own health care decisions, the General POA expires, which means this a type of POA that is not for making your end-of-life medical decisions.

A Limited POA is limited to whatever specific purpose you appoint to them. It doesn’t make much sense to have a Limited POA for health care reasons when the Medical POA is available for that specific purpose.

The Springing POA is based on certain pre-appointed conditions, and it can end at a pre-appointed time.

To summarize, the Durable Power of Attorney and the Medical Power of Attorney are the two types that can make medical decisions for you when you are no longer able to make them yourself.

If this still seems confusing to you, let us know how we can help. My Living Wishes is here to help you sort through all the difficult planning for the last stages of your life.