Virginia Beach Medical Power of Attorney Lawyer

A medical power of attorney, also known as a healthcare power of attorney, is a legal document that allows an individual (the principal) to designate another person (the agent or healthcare proxy) to make healthcare decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions themselves. In Virginia, a medical power of attorney is part of an advance medical directive (AMD). This document is a key component of healthcare planning, ensuring that someone the principal trusts is authorized to oversee their medical care according to their wishes and best interests.

As long as you are capable of making your own decisions, such as consenting to or refusing treatment suggested by your doctor and care team, this document does not transfer the decision-making power to someone else. However, in situations where you are unable to speak for yourself, like after a serious car accident or if you fall into a coma, a medical power of attorney prepared by your estate planning attorney can be invaluable. It ensures that your healthcare choices are made according to your wishes by someone you trust. To understand more about how this tool can benefit you, consider reaching out to our team of Virginia Beach medical power of attorney lawyers.

What is an Advance Medical Directive?

An advance medical directive (AMD) consists of two parts: a medical power of attorney and a living will. The state’s Health Care Decisions Act under Virginia Code § 54.1-2981-2990 outlines requirements.

The advance medical directive includes the appointment of a healthcare agent authorized to make medical decisions on the individual’s behalf if they are unable to do so. It also outlines the specifies the types of medical treatments and life-sustaining measures, such as mechanical ventilation and other forms of life support, an individual desire. It may also outline preferences for artificial food and hydration by way of intravenous fluids and feeding tubes. A lawyer in Virginia Beach can help a person further understand medical powers of attorney.

Requirements for a Medical Power of Attorney

To create a valid advance directive, there are several key requirements that a person and their Virginia Beach attorney must meet:

Legal Age and Capacity

The individual creating the advance directive (the declarant) must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor. They must also be mentally competent at the time of creating the document, meaning they understand the nature and implications of the directive.

Written Document

The advance directive must be in writing. It should clearly express the individual’s wishes regarding medical treatment and end-of-life care. This can include preferences about life-sustaining treatment, resuscitation, artificial nutrition and hydration, and other medical interventions.

Specific Instructions

The advance directive should provide specific instructions about the medical care the declarant wants or does not want. This can also include the appointment of a healthcare agent (also known as a durable power of attorney for healthcare) who is authorized to make medical decisions on the declarant’s behalf if they are unable to do so.

Voluntary Execution

The document must be voluntarily executed, without coercion or undue influence.

Signature Requirements

The advance directive must be signed by the declarant in the presence of two adult witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the document, affirming that the declarant appeared to be of sound mind and not under duress, fraud, or undue influence when they signed it.

Notarization (Optional)

While notarization is not a requirement in Virginia, it can add an additional layer of legal validity, especially if the document might be used in another state.

No Healthcare Providers as Witnesses

The witnesses should not be the individual’s healthcare provider, an employee of the healthcare provider, or the designated healthcare agent.

The Physician’s Role in Following Directives

There are instances where a physician might ethically object or disagree with the wishes of an agent designated in a medical power of attorney, leading them to decline a medical procedure. For instance, if a patient is determined to be brain-dead, the agent might request the physician to actively euthanize the patient, a practice that is not legal in Virginia. In such cases where there is opposition to the directives, physicians are required to make a concerted effort to transfer the patient to the care of another doctor.

Physicians who, in good faith, authorize life-prolonging treatments that ultimately cause harm to a patient are provided immunity from professional, criminal, and civil liabilities. For a family member to challenge this in a civil lawsuit, they would need to demonstrate, with a preponderance of evidence, that the physician acted with malicious intent or gross negligence. A lawyer in Virginia Beach can help a person draft a medical power of attorney to avoid physician objections.

An Attorney in Virginia Beach Can Help Protect Healthcare Decisions With a Medical Power of Attorney

Many pertinent documents make up estate planning. They entail more than protecting your assets. They include protecting you when healthcare decisions must be made. This includes designating a trusted friend or family member as your healthcare surrogate to make life-prolonging decisions when you cannot because you are vegetative, in a coma, or mentally compromised.

Our dedicated attorneys will sit down with you and listen to your goals and wishes concerning what initiatives you want in place and who you want to name to carry them out. Your advanced healthcare directive should also include a living will. Contact a Virginia Beach medical power of attorney lawyer to discuss your needs.

Areas We Serve

With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

  • Virginia Beach
  • Hampton
  • Chesapeake
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Yorktown
  • Portsmouth
  • Accomack County
  • Suffolk
  • Northampton County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law N/a
4768 Euclid Road,
Suite 103

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
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