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Utah Durable Power of Attorney Laws

We may not want to think about it, but if a family member or loved one becomes incapacitated, someone else may need to make the decisions relating to his or her health care, treatment, and even whether to continue life support. Utah law provides for a legal arrangement, called a “durable power of attorney,” that can allow those hard decisions to be made. This is an introduction to durable power of attorney laws in Utah.

Durable Power of Attorney Statutes

If a patient has already made these decisions in a living will, those wishes will generally be honored. Absent a living will, a durable power of attorney for health care can allow a named person (sometimes called an “agent” or a “proxy”) to make health care decisions, including whether or not the patient should be connected to a respirator. The table below lists Utah’s durable power of attorney statutes.

Code Section

Utah Code 75-2a-101 et seq.: Advance Health Care Directive Act

Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts

Any medical procedure or intervention that would serve only to prolong the dying process including artificial nutrition and hydration unless declaration specifically excludes; does not include medication, sustenance, or any procedure to alleviate pain; separate procedure for "do not resuscitate" directive.

Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney

For agent/proxy: (1) 18 yrs.; (2) in writing; (3) dated and signed;

For power of attorney: must be before notary public; power of attorney takes precedent over earlier signed directives

Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney

Current wishes of declarant take precedent over any directive. Revocable at any time by (1) signed revocation; (2) destruction of document; (3) oral expression of intent to revoke in presence of witness. Effective on receipt by physician

Validity from State-to-State

A similar instrument executed in another state is presumed to comply with Utah law and may be relied upon in good faith.

If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney

Unwilling physician required to transfer patient promptly

Immunity for Attending Physician

No civil, criminal, or professional liability for good faith compliance with directive

Related Resources for Utah Durable Power of Attorney Laws

Powers of attorney and health care decisions are serious matters. If you would like legal assistance regarding a power of attorney or health care matter, you can also contact a Utah estate planning attorney or a Utah health care attorney. You can also find additional articles and information by visiting FindLaw’s section on Living Wills and Power of Attorney.

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