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Healthcare Power of Attorney 101

How Is Incapacity Determined?

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In general, a doctor will determine whether you are can make and communicate rational choices about your medical care. 

In a Health Care Power Of Attorney, you can name a doctor or doctors you wish to make the determination. Alternatively, you can specify a number of doctors who need to agree to the certification before it becomes effective. For example, two doctors.

As a general rule, hospitals and other health care facilities will not honor an advance directive unless there is confirmation about your status from at least one doctor.

NOTE: If you name a specific doctor or doctors, before executing a Health Care Power Of Attorney, speak with that doctor to assure he or she is willing to assume the role. Keep in mind (a) that the doctor may not be available when needed and (b) the doctor may move, stop practicing or die. At the least, make a continuing alert (such as every 6 months) to check to see that the doctor is still available.

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