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Washington Durable Power of Attorney Laws

The "durable power of attorney" is a legally binding agreement to allow a named individual (also called an "agent") to make health care, financial, and end-of-life decisions on their behalf. For example, the named individual (agent) -- in accordance with a patient's living will -- may tell doctors to remove the patient from feeding tubes.

Washington's Durable Power Of Attorney Laws

In the state of Washington, an agent may be authorized to:

  • Make health-care decisions for you or your minor children;
  • Buy or sell things;
  • Manage a business;
  • Collect debts;
  • Invest money;
  • Cash checks;
  • Manage financial matters generally;
  • Sue on behalf of the principal.

Life Sustaining Procedures

If you want life-sustaining procedures withheld or withdrawn if death from an incurable, terminal condition is imminent, then it is a good idea to write it down in what is called a living will or an advance directive.

Doctors and Durable Power of Attorney Laws

In Washington, durable power of attorney laws shield physicians acting in good faith from liability for the effects of following end-of-life directives.

Do I Need A Lawyer To Prepare A Power Of Attorney?

There isn't a legal requirement that a power of attorney be prepared or reviewed by a Washington estate planning lawyer. However, if you are giving important powers over to another person, it is wise to get individual legal advice before signing a complicated form. A person who signs a power of attorney should fully understand what it means, and consider all the risks and alternatives available to them.

The basics of Washington's durable power of attorney laws are highlighted below. See Wills and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care for a general overview.

Code Section 11.94.010, et seq. Power of Attorney
Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts Appointed attorney-in-fact may make health care decisions on principal's behalf or provide informed consent
Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney (1) In writing; (2) principal designates another as his attorney-in-fact; must include words showing intent of principal that authority be conferred notwithstanding principal's disability
Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney Continues until revoked or terminated by principal, court-appointed guardian or court order
Validity from State-to-State -
If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney -
Immunity for Attending Physician Anyone acting in good faith and without negligence shall incur no liability

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

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