Can You Authorize Your Partner To Make Health Care Decisions For You?

Law Blog

If you and your partner are in a committed relationship, but do not plan to marry in the near future, you need to take steps to ensure that he or she can make health decisions on your behalf in case you are unable to do so. Without taking the necessary steps, your partner could have trouble authorizing important medical procedures. Before taking any steps, here is what you need to know. 

What Is a Health Care Directive?

A health care directive is a document that lists your wishes regarding your health care. It is a simple document that is often referred to as a living will. In the directive, you can state what treatment measures you want and in which situations you do not want certain treatments. 

For instance, you can state in your directive that you do not want any lifesaving measures taken if there is no brain activity detected. 

If you are over the age of 18 and in good mental health, you have the right to make a directive. If you have a physical impairment that affects your ability to sign the directive, work with an attorney to ensure your state allows for the help of another to sign the document.

In some states, the rights to carry out the directive are usually given to the spouse, children, and parents of a person if no one is specifically listed in the directive. Since you are not married, there is a chance that your state might not allow your partner to serve as the agent of your directive, if he or she is not specifically named. 

What Should Be in Your Directive?

Outside of listing your health care wishes, it is very important that you name your partner as the agent of your directive. Even if your state allows for the assumption that he or she will be the agent, it is ideal to include him or her. If there are any challenges to your partner's authority, your directive can make it clear what your intentions were. 

You also need to be very detailed in what duties your partner has. For instance, you need to state whether or not he or she has the right to select your medical care providers, have access to your medical records, and make medical decisions for situations that are covered in your directive. 

Consult with a family law attorney, such as those from LaCroix & Hand PC, to ensure that your directive is legally inclusive of your partner and that he or she has the proper authority to make medical decisions for you. 


22 December 2015

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