The legal process known as a durable power of attorney allows the individual named in the document (the "health care agent") to make important health care and end-of-life decisions if the patient is unable to communicate or provide consent. For instance, someone in a coma lacks the capacity for consent but has a durable power of attorney in place. The named individual may make the types of decisions that the patient ordinarily would have to make on their own. While durable powers of attorney are generally valid in other states, they must comply with the laws of the other state.
Alaska Durable Power of Attorney Law at a Glance
Under a durable power of attorney, the health care agent may refuse or consent to medical care or pain relief, but may not authorize the removal of life-sustaining care unless specifically indicated in the patient's living will. A durable power of attorney is revocable at any time in Alaska. Under no circumstances may a physician (or anyone else, for that matter) help the patient actively end his or her own life.
The following chart provides general information about Alaska's durable power of attorney law. See The Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Your Health Care for a general summary.
|Code Section||13.26.332, 335, et seq.|
|Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts||Consent or refusal to consent to medical care or relief for the principal from pain but agent may not authorize the termination of life-sustaining procedures; may include provision indicating whether a living will has been executed|
|Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney||(1) Must be set out in substantially the same form as found in statute §13.26.332; (2) designate health care decisions to agent|
|Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney||Revocable at any time|
|Validity from State-to-State||-|
|If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney||A third party shall honor the terms of a properly executed power of attorney, but physician may withdraw after services of another physician have been obtained|
|Immunity for Attending Physician||A third party who relies on reasonable representations of an attorney-in-fact does not incur a liability to the principal or principal's heirs, assigns, or estate|
Note: State laws are not carved in stone and may change at any time through a number of ways, usually the enactment of new legislation. You may want to contact an Alaska power of attorney lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Alaska Durable Power of Attorney Laws: Related Resources
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