Power of Attorney and Health Care – General – Vermont
An “agent” is an adult to whom authority to make health care decisions is delegated under a durable power of attorney for health care.
A “durable power of attorney for health care” is a document delegating to an agent the authority to make health care decisions.
The agent under a health care power of attorney has the authority to make any and all health care decisions on the principal’s behalf that the principal could make. The agent makes those decisions after consultation with the principal’s attending physician and other health care providers and in accordance with the agent’s knowledge of the principal’s wishes, religious or moral beliefs, as stated orally by the principal or as contained in a durable power of attorney for health care or in a terminal care document. If the principal’s wishes are unknown, in accordance with the agent’s assessment of the principal’s best interests. An agent’s authority is in effect only when the principal lacks capacity to make health care decisions. The lack of capacity must be certified in writing by the principal’s attending physician and filed in the principal’s medical record.
Notwithstanding the terms of a durable power of attorney for health care and/or the principal’s capacity to make health care decisions at the time, treatment may not be given to or withheld from the principal over the principal’s objection. The principal’s attending physician shall make reasonable efforts to inform the principal of any proposed treatment, or of any proposal to withdraw or withhold treatment. A durable power of attorney for health care cannot give an agent authority to consent to voluntary admission to any state institution or to a voluntary sterilization.
Form (Tit. 18 Sec. 9703):
Use of the statutory form is not required. However, a durable power of attorney for health care must contain a disclosure statement substantially in the form as set forth in the statute. The principal must sign a statement acknowledging that he or she has received the disclosure statement and has read and understands its contents.
Execution and Witnesses (Tit. 18 Sec. 9703)
A durable power of attorney for health care must be signed by the principal in the presence of at least two or more subscribing witnesses, neither of whom shall, at the time of execution, be the agent, the principal’s health or residential care provider or the provider’s employee, the principal’s spouse, heir, or reciprocal beneficiary, a person entitled to any part of the estate of the principal upon the death of the principal under a will or deed in existence or by operation of law or any other person who has, at the time of execution, any claims against the estate of the principal.
The witnesses must affirm that the principal appeared to be of sound mind and free from duress at the time the durable power of attorney for health care was signed and that the principal affirmed that he or she was aware of the nature of the documents and signed it freely and voluntarily. If the principal is physically unable to sign, the durable power of attorney for health care may be signed by the principal’s name written by some other person in the principal’s presence and at the principal’s express direction.
Revocation (Tit. 14 Sec. 3507)
A durable power of attorney for health care may be revoked: by notification by the principal to the agent or a health or residential care provider orally, or in writing, or by any other act evidencing a specific intent to revoke the power; by execution by the principal of a subsequent durable power of attorney for health care; or by the divorce of the principal and spouse, where the spouse is the principal’s agent.
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