Medical Power of Attorney

Most people do not think about a Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) until it is too late. Recently a wife asked her husband, “When you get dementia, do you still want a flu shot”?

If someone has a MPOA why do they have to ask anything. **Each state has its own rules for MPOA. Check with your personal attorney. This is an example under Texas Law Chapter 166, Subchapter D of the Texas Health and Safety Code. The MPOA appoints someone to make medical decisions when you can’t. Your medical agent has no authority until the attending physician certifies in writing that you are incompetent. You may still object to your agent’s decision to give or withhold treatment. You are in charge as long as you can communicate.

Your medical agent is supposed to make the decision you prefer, not the one he or she prefers.

The American Bar Association offers a Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning. Tool #7, The Proxy Quiz for Family or Physician is the one to take. To get a copy start at Take the quiz with your spouse (or your agent). You may find similarity in some of your wishes, or it may need more discussion. Start on it today. Do not wait until after the fact.

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