Because life is full of unforeseen twists and turns, medical power of attorney is something you don’t want to be without. It should be granted to someone you trust, who will respect your wishes and look out for your best interests.
You should also understand the Colorado laws so that it’s a seamless transition to the person who will be making important decisions about your healthcare when you become unable.
For peace of mind, our attorneys at Meurer Law Offices in Denver can help you do just that.
The Basics of Medical Power of Attorney
Medical POA is a legal document that allows you to choose a health care agent to make key health care decisions for you when you can’t. This document may also be called power of attorney for healthcare.
Use of this document applies to situations where you are unconscious or not able to consent to medical procedures. It would potentially be used if you are recovering from an accident or injury, in a coma, or if you are permanently incapacitated, either physically or mentally.
At the Meurer Law Offices in Denver, we advise all of our clients to have a medical or health care power of attorney (POA) in place. You simply never know what might happen, whether it’s a car accident or a severe and sudden illness. Your life could literally be hanging in the balance.
What Medical Power of Attorney Covers
Your health care agent should thoroughly understand your health care philosophy and be able to make the decisions that go along with your wishes.
While people often choose a spouse, remember that some of the decisions might be difficult to make. If you don’t want doctors to use extreme measures to revive you, that’s a big burden to hand over to your spouse. Think about who has the right balance to provide you with care while respecting your wishes.
Matters you may want to discuss with your health care agent and put in writing include:
- Organ donation and arrangements for your body in the event of death.
- Pain relief options even if those medications may worsen a condition or hasten your death.
- Life support even after brain death.
- End care involving tube feeding, CPR, medications, and mechanical ventilation.
If you do not create a health care power of attorney, your loved ones will have to go to court to have one appointed. The court, and not you, will then decide who will make your health care decisions.
Let’s take a look at the Colorado laws and get to our questions and answers about medical power of attorney.
#1 Can medical power of attorney be revoked?
Yes, in Colorado it can be revoked by you at any time. In fact, the law recognizes that under certain circumstances it will be revoked automatically, like when there is a divorce, annulment, or legal separation if you named your spouse as the person to make decisions for you.
#2 Can my health care agent view my necessary medical information?
Yes, they will have access to your medical records so that they can consult with your doctors and other healthcare providers just as you would. This allows them to make informed decisions about your care.
#3 Are there any legal requirements that must be included?
Yes. The legal document must contain the words, “This power of attorney shall not be affected by disability of the principal.” It is used only when you are unconscious or not able to consent to medical procedures. At the Meurer Law Offices, we can explain this to you further.
#4 Does it give the power to decide medical treatment?
Yes. Colorado medical power of attorney laws grant the authority to your health care agent to act for you if you are unable to decide for yourself. Those decisions will be made regarding consenting to or refusing medical treatment. This includes artificial nourishment and hydration and may include conditions or limitations set out by you in a living will.
#5 Is a durable power of attorney valid if it is from another state?
Yes. If it was executed properly in another state, it is presumed to comply with the law in Colorado and may, in good faith, be relied on by healthcare providers. You’re more than welcome to contact our office for a review or to transfer your POA if you’re a new resident to the state.
#6 Is there immunity for a physician that follows my durable power of attorney?
Yes. If your doctor complies in good faith with the medical treatment decisions of your health care agent, there is no criminal or civil liability or regulatory sanction.
#7 What happens if a physician won’t follow my medical power of attorney?
Your care must be transferred to another physician and the doctor refusing to follow your durable power of attorney must NOT provide care and comfort before the transfer takes place. Again, the person you designate should be ready to take on any obstacles that might come up along the way.
In Colorado, nobody is automatically authorized to make health care decisions for you should you become incapacitated either physically or mentally. That’s why you need to know Colorado medical power of attorney laws, so you can be prepared with a healthcare agent who can make the best care decisions on your behalf if you need.
Our attorneys at Meurer Law Offices in Denver can sit down with you and explain what you need to know, as well as put together all the documents you need. It can be handled separately or in conjunction with your full estate plan. Making these kinds of tough decisions now can give you peace of mind.