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Powers of Attorney and Advanced Medical Directives

Under Virginia law, A Power of Attorney (POA), unless it states otherwise:

  • Photocopies and soft copies of POAs are accepted as originals (so be sure to destroy and affirmatively revoke all prior originals and copies of POAs, and notify the Agent if you revoke the POA);
  • POAs are effective upon execution (not delivery);
  • POAs are durable (survive incapacity);
  • POAs terminate at:
    • The death of principal or agent;
    • The revocation by principal;
    • An agent's resignation;
    • A date and time set by the principal in the POA;
    • Divorce filing if the agent was married to principal at time of POA; or
    • Upon the accomplishment of some pre-determined event.
  • A new POA does NOT automatically revoke an old POA (so if you want to revoke a prior POA let the agent know);
  • Co-Agents (if any) MAY act independently;
  • Agents are allowed reasonable reimbursement.

When we prepare an Advanced Medical Directive (AMD) we work with our clients to create a "roadmap" of health care decision making powers, rights, and responsibilities that the client wants for their agent. We often recommend broad-based powers be given to a trusted loved one, but we understand that every client is different, and some clients are interested in very specific language and limitations. In addition to the rights, responsibilities, and powers included in a "typical" AMD, Virginia law provides "options" which may be included such as:

  • Anatomical gifts;
  • Providing Agent powers "even over my [the declarant's] protest";
  • Enrolling the AMD declarant in a health care study approved by an institutional review board that offers the prospect of direct therapeutic benefit to the declarant;
  • Allowing the Agent to admit the declarant for mental illness treatment;
  • Allowing the Agent to make arrangements for hospital visitation;
  • Addressing specific life-prolonging measures to be included in a female AMD in the event of pregnancy and a terminal diagnoses;
  • Addressing end-of-life and life-prolonging decision making.

Please contact us at 703-865-7480 so we may be able to assist you with preparing a Power of Attorney or Advanced Medical Directive.

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