Health Care Power of Attorney

A Health Care Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to appoint an agent to make health care decisions in the event that you are incapable of making decisions yourself. Once this document is drafted, you continue to make your own health care decisions as long as you are competent to do so. If you become incompetent, the person chosen to be the agent will be expected to carry out your wishes. A health care agent is also called a proxy.

Some of the important provisions included in the Utah Power of Attorney for Health Care are:

  • Grantor and Agent: Names of the Grantor and the Agent that is appointed.
  • Alternate Agent: Names of an alternate Agent.
  • Grant of Power: The various powers to make health care decisions granted to the Agent.
  • Signature of Grantor: Confirms that these are the wishes of the person whose name appears on the document.
  • Witnesses: Declares that the person whose name is on the document is of sound mind.

The Utah Advance Directive includes the form to designate a Health Care Power of Attorney.

Why Appoint a Health Care Agent?

Choosing an agent is one of the most important things that you can do as part of planning for possible future incapacity and end-of-life care. By choosing an agent, you identify the person who you want to make decisions for you. If you do not choose an agent and you lose the ability to make your own health care decisions, the law decides who gets to make decisions for you. Failure to appoint an agent could lead to the need for a guardian, who is appointed by a court in a potentially costly legal process.

Who Can't Be an Agent?

You cannot name your health care provider (doctor, nurse, social worker), or an owner, operator, or employee of a health care facility where you are receiving care, unless the agent is related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption.

What to Do After You Choose a Health Care Agent

  • Talk to your agent about the qualifications outlined below.
  • Ask permission to name him or her as your agent.
  • Work through the rest of the tools below.
  • Give your agent a copy of your Advance Health Care Directive, and make sure your agent knows how to get the original copy of your Directive.
  • Tell family members, your physician, and close friends who you have chosen as your agent.

Health Care Agent IQ Test

When you decide to pick someone to speak for you in a medical crisis, in case you are not able to speak for yourself, there are several things to think about. This tool will help you decide who the best person is. Usually it is best to name one person or agent to serve at a time, with at least one alternate, or back-up person, in case the first person is not available when needed.

Use the Selecting Your Health Care Agent tool to assess who your agent should be.  

pdf Selecting Your Health Care Agent

After you have chosen a person and talked with him or her about your wishes, take the Health Care Agent IQ Test. This short test can give you some sense of how well you have communicated. Consider this a tool to promote better conversation and understanding: If you didn’t do that well, keep talking!

pdf Health Care Agent IQ Test