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Pennsylvania Durable Power of Attorney Laws

So what exactly is a "durable power of attorney?" It's a legal phrase that refers to a legal process that gives a trusted individual the legal authority to make health care decisions on one's behalf. This legal process is regulated at the state level. Under Pennsylvania's durable power of attorney laws, a physician who acts in good faith reliance on power of attorney shall incur no liability as a result.

The durable power of attorney (also referred to as a health care power of attorney) are often written by elderly people or those with terminal illness -- but before it is needed, since the person to whom it applies must have capacity to grant this power. The term "durable" refers to its validity after you become incapacitated (non-durable powers of attorney become invalid at that point).

This legal procedure may be used for health care decisions, financial decisions, or both. While some states require separate documents, Pennsylvania durable power of attorney law allows the principal (the person granting the powers) to list specific duties, which may include both health care and financial matters.

Learn more about Pennsylvania durable power of attorney laws in the following table. See Wills and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care for more information.

Code Section 20 Pa CSA §5601-5604 Powers of Attorney
Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts Authorize admission to medical facility and enter into agreements for principal's care and to consent, arrange, and authorize medical and surgical procedures including administration of drugs
Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney (1) In writing; (2) signed; (3) in the presence of 2 witnesses; (4) presumed durable
Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney Durable power of attorney not affected by subsequent disability or incapacity. Agent must have actual notice of revocation for it to be effective. Divorce revokes power of attorney for spouse.
Validity from State-to-State Documents executed in other states valid except to extent they allow agents to make decisions inconsistent with Pennsylvania law
If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney -
Immunity for Attending Physician Person acting in good faith reliance on power of attorney shall incur no liability as a result.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Pennsylvania estate planning lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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