Who Gets to Make Medical Decisions for You if You Don’t Have a Medical Power of Attorney?

The only thing my four girls can agree on is to disagree.

Where should we go out to lunch? What movie should we watch? Who does the dog love more? Who got the better Happy Meal toy? Who gets the last ice cream sandwich in the freezer? Who made the mess in the living room?

At least they are honing their speech and debate skills.

Conflict is common among families, especially at times of stress, like when a loved one is in the hospital.

I have talked before about the importance of executing a medical power of attorney. In a medical power of attorney, you choose someone to make medical decisions for you in the event your are unable to do so.

So what happens if you never get around to executing a medical power of attorney? Who gets to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated?

In Texas, in order of priority, the following people can make medical decisions for you:

  • your spouse;
  • your adult child, with the waiver and consent of your other adult children, if any;
  • the majority of your children;
  • your parents; and
  • an individual identified to act on your behalf before you became incapacitated, your nearest living relative, or a member of the clergy.

Sounds like a sensible list, right? Maybe for some people, but I have seen enough Lifetime movies and listened to enough Dr. Laura to know that the default law is not going to work for lots of people and circumstances.

For example:

  • you’re single and you don’t get along with your family;
  • your adult children can’t agree on anything;
  • you and your spouse are involved in a serious car accident and you are both incapacitated;
  • you never married your long-term partner; or
  • your parents are divorced and you don’t get along with one of your parents.

I could go on, but you get my point. Do yourself (and your family) a favor and execute a medical power of attorney. Like today.

What crazy thing did you (or do you) fight with your siblings over? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Disclaimer: This website is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. The website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Copyright © 2018 by Siobhán Fitzpatrick Kratovil. All Rights Reserved.


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