If you are in a marriage, registered domestic partnership, or civil union, recognized by the state in which you live, your spouse or partner can make those decisions for you. If you are not in a registered relationship, or that relationship is not recognized by your state, then state law would recognize your family of origin to make those decisions. However, you can override state law and give your spouse or partner the authority to make such decisions by signing a Health Care Power of Attorney. With such a document, when you are unable to make your own medical decisions, your spouse or partner can step in and speak for you. Further, this document will designate your spouse or partner as your choice to be guardian for you if one needs to be appointed. Without such a designation, your family of origin may have priority for such an appointment.
About Brittany Martin
Elizabeth Mitchell is a partner in the law firm of Ambler Keenan Mitchell Johnson. Beth devotes her practice to estate planning, Medicaid planning, elder law, special needs planning, and probate and trust administration. She is board certified as a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)* through the National Elder Law Foundation, and she is a Veterans Administration accredited attorney. She is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Denver Bar Association, and the Colorado Bar Association, where she is a member of the Elder Law Section.