What is a Medical Power of Attorney

• A Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA) appoints an agent to speak for you regarding medical treatment decisions when you cannot do so yourself.

• It has much wider application than a Living Will because it actually names an agent to look out for your wishes. MDPOAs are also much more flexible because you can set forth your wishes regarding "quality of life" issues. Health care providers are required to comply first with your wishes, then a Living Will if one is executed, and finally the decisions of your agent under an MDPOA.

• On June 4, 1992, new laws were passed that state a previously executed Living Will would take precedence over the authority given to an agent under an MDPOA. Since living wills are much less comprehensive than an MDPOA and they do not allow for an agent to stand up for your health care wishes, most elder law attorneys favor MDPOAs over living wills. In addition, you will always want to revoke any previously executed living will when you execute a new MDPOA. This can be done within the MPDOA itself, with a clause stating that you are revoking any previous living wills. Colorado is currently contemplating g a change to the MDPOA statute. Look back here for updates.