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West Virginia Durable Power of Attorney Laws

Just thinking about a family member or a loved one being sick is hard enough, much less creating a plan for health care, treatment, and even deciding whether to continue life support. As hard as it is, it’s best to have a plan for someone to make big medical decisions if a person you care for becomes incapacitated.

A “durable power of attorney” is a document that can allow you or another to make those hard decisions. Here is a quick introduction durable power of attorney laws in West Virginia.

Durable Power of Attorney Statutes

If a person has already designated their medical wishes in a living will, that document will generally be honored. If a person does not have a living will, a durable power of attorney for health care can appoint another named person (called an “agent” or a “proxy”) to make health care and end-of-life decisions for an debilitated patient. The details of West Virginia’s durable power of attorney statutes are listed below.

Code Section

West Virginia Code16-30-1, et seq.: Health Care Decisions Act

Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts

To affect a patient's decision to accept or reject medical or surgical treatments which prolong the dying process artificially

Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney

(1) 18 yrs.; (2) in writing; (3) signed by declarant or someone at his or her directive; (4) dated; (5) 2 witnesses; (6) notarized; (7) with words indicating effective upon patient's incapacity; substantially same form as §16-30A-18

Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney

Desires of principal at all times supersede effect of medical power of attorney. Revocable at any time by (1) destruction of document; (2) written revocation signed and dated; (3) verbal expression with witness present; (4) divorce if former spouse was designated

Validity from State-to-State

Valid if in compliance with laws of West Virginia or state where executed and expressly delegates health care decisions

If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney

Unwilling physician shall cause the transfer of principal to a complying physician

Immunity for Attending Physician

No criminal civil liability for good faith compliance with directions of medical power of attorney or representative

More Resources for Durable Power of Attorney Laws in West Virginia

Health care decisions have serious emotional and legal considerations. FindLaw’s section on Living Wills and Power of Attorney can provide you with additional articles and resources on this topic. You can also contact a West Virginia estate planning attorney or a West Virginia health care attorney if you would like legal help regarding a power of attorney or health care matter.

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