I had Medical and Financial Power of Attorneys drawn up 2 years ago for my husband who has dementia, but am told by doctors that the MPoA is "situational" and that I need guardianship. Is this true in Virginia?

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I think these doctors are hiding behind a technicality. A judge declares someone incompetent legally on the basis of two medical opinions. So, it is a medical decision. The ruling by a judge is only needed if your are going for guardianship which is not true in your case. My mother's neurologist and the doctor at the nursing home both said she was incompetent, but I was never told that I needed a judge to rule her as such.
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Here is the STATE OF VIRGINIA's Healthcare Decision website.  You need to look at this website and also the STATE of VIRGINA Power of Attorney website to determine whether the documents that your husband signed meet the requirements for the State of Virginia.
(April 16-22, 2018)  Eleventh Annual Healthcare Decisions Week in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Healthcare Decisions Week is designed to raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions related to end of life care and medical decision-making whenever patients are unable to speak for themselves and to encourage the specific use of Advance Directives to communicate these important healthcare decisions.

Virginia Advance Directives
All adults in Virginia have a right to prepare a document called an “Advance Directive” to put their wishes regarding medical care in writing. An Advance Directive lets other people know the types of medical care you do and do not want in the event you are unable to express your wishes on your own. There are two kinds of Advance Directives:

Appointment of an Agent
You may authorize another person, such as a spouse, child, or friend, to be your “agent” or “proxy” to make decisions for you if you become incapable of making informed healthcare decisions for yourself. You can also specifically tell your agent what kinds of care you do and do not want. This authorization is, in legal terms, often called a “Power of Attorney for Healthcare.”

Written Healthcare Directive
You may also state what kinds of healthcare you want or do not want if you are determined to be unable to express your own wishes. These instructions are often referred to as a “living will.”

Once you have printed and signed the form, you should make copies and provide a copy to your doctor, bring one when you go to the hospital, and give copies to your family and friends.
Virginia Advance Directive Form for Healthcare with Sections for Medical, Mental, and End-of-Life Care - short (pdf)
Virginia Advance Directive Form for Healthcare with Sections for Medical, Mental, and End-of-Life Care - full (pdf)
Virginia Advance Directive Form for Healthcare with Sections for Medical and End-of-Life Care (pdf)
Virginia Advance Directive Form for Mental Health Care (pdf)
Virginia Advance Directive Form to Appoint a Healthcare Agent (pdf)
Virginia Advance Medical Directive Form for Healthcare Decisions Day (pdf)
Virginia Advance Directive Amendment - Power of my Agent to Authorize Care over my Objection (pdf)
Virginia Advance Directive Amendment - Life-Prolonging Treatments During Pregnancy (pdf)
The Virginia Health Care Directive Registry
Virginia created a free online advance directive registry at Connect Virginia that allows Virginia residents to securely store important healthcare documents, such as Advance Health Care Directives, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Declarations of Anatomical Gift (organ donation), and other documents so that family members, medical providers, emergency personnel, or other persons you designate will know how to honor your wishes.
The information in the Virginia Registry is safe and confidential. Only health care providers, you, and persons you designate will have access to your documents. Example of POA for a lawyer that you can revise for yourself.  Look under "Virginia State Bar" website for information about POA.

Hope that these websites help.
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DeboBurk Jul 2018
Thanks so much DeeAnna, I will check these out.
First. Read your MPOA. Then call the attorney and tell him what husband’s doctor said.
Is there a specific issue you and the doctor are disagreeing about? More information would be helpful.
Do the doctors think your husband is still competent to make his own decisions?
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Situational? That's a new one to me, and I look at a lot of POAs daily in my legal position. The entire purpose of POAs are to avoid guardianship/conservatorship!

Could you describe the situation a bit more as to why the MDs are saying that? Do they think the health POA is lacking necessary power(s)?
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DeboBurk Jul 2018
What they are telling me is that finding him incompetent is a legal decision, not a medical one. That said, he couldn't answer a single question the neurologist asked him last Friday, including what year it is and what she was holding (pen). Luckily for me, I guess, Kaiser doctors don't know their own protocols, and one doctor gave me the letter, and I was able to get one from a doctor I know outside of Kaiser. But if they won't honor it, that is a whole different problem. I will check with the lawyer who did the original Medical PoA and see what he says.
What? A medical POA is not situational. It authorizes you to make medical decisions in his behalf. Where did these doctors get the idea that the medical POA is situational? Gaurdianship is expensive and as far as I know does not give you anymore medical authority than you already have.

You need a lawyer who specializes in elder law which not all of them do.

One thing for sure, at some point he is going to need more care than one person can humanly do as in 24/7 unless you want to be part of the statistics of how many caregivers die before the person they are caring for. Just thought, I'd mention that.

Take care and tell those doctors that they don't know what the are talking about.
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