The durable power of attorney (also called a "health care power of attorney") is a legal document that allows the signee to designate a trusted individual to make health care and end-of-life decisions on their behalf. They typically follow the advance directives outlined in a living will. Virginia durable power of attorney laws are encoded in the state's Health Care Decisions Act, and are regulated the same as living wills.
See the following chart to review the main provisions of Virginia's durable power of attorney laws. FindLaw's Health Care Power of Attorney section contains additional articles and resources on the topic.
|Code Section||54.1-2981 Health Care Decisions Act|
|Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts||Any medical procedure, treatment, intervention, utilizing mechanical or other artificial means to sustain, restore, or supplant a vital function, or is of a nature to afford patient no reasonable expectation of recovery from a terminal condition and when applied to a patient in terminal condition, would serve only to prolong the dying process. Includes artificially administered hydration and nutrition and CPR by emergency medical services personnel, but does not include any medication or procedure to alleviate pain or provide comfort care|
|Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney||(1) Competent adult; (2) written advance directive; (3) signed in presence of 2 subscribing witnesses; (4) oral declaration in presence of physician and 2 witnesses for those in terminal condition; (5) responsibility of declarant to provide notification of advance directive to attending physician. (suggested form §54.1-2984))|
|Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney||Revocable at any time by (1) signed, dated writing; (2) physical cancellation or destruction; (3) oral expression of intent to revoke. Effective upon communication to attending physician|
|Validity from State-to-State||Directive executed in another state valid if in compliance with Virginia law or law of state where executed. Such directives shall be construed in accordance with Virginia laws|
|If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney||If physician thinks treatment is medically or ethically inappropriate or is contrary to terms of advanced directive, unwilling physician must make reasonable effort to transfer patient to another physician|
|Immunity for Attending Physician||No civil, criminal, or professional liability if acting in good faith. It would have to be shown by preponderance of the evidence that the person authorizing life-prolonging procedures acted in bad faith|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Virginia estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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