If a husband has a durable power of attorney naming a friend, can that friend then use that power to make medical decisions for the husband’s wife who isdying in the hospital?

Wife is dying in the hospital and husband is told he needed a durable power of attorney so that decisions could be made by (friend-not family) on his wife’s medical treatment. Wife still has all of her mental faculties. My understanding is that the POA applies inky to the husband any not the wife?

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Estate Planning, Hawaii


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the situation.  From what I can tell from your question you are indeed correct.  First, the Power of Attorney is not a Health Care Poxy or any thing of that form for the husband or for the wife, correct?  It is a Power of Attorney "for all purposes" - a general Power of Attorney - for business issues I assume.  Although it is possible to adversely effect a joint asset by having a POA for the husband, it really has nothing to do with the Wife.  And if she has all her mental faculties then the hospital has to uphold her wishes by law.  Good luck to you all. 

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