Power of Attorney During a Coma

By Teo Spengler

Medical emergencies arrive without advance warning, but a prudent person can prepare for the unexpected with an appropriate power of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document appointing someone, known as the agent, to act in your place in managing your finances or health care. Many types of powers of attorney exist but only those termed durable remain effective if you become incapacitated.


If you have prepared a power of attorney, a trusted person can step in and take the reins if you fall into a coma or are otherwise medically unable to run your affairs. The person you name in a power of attorney as your agent acts for you in those matters specified in the document. If you wish protection in case of a coma or other incapacity, be sure to create a durable power of attorney; regular powers of attorney become invalid if and when you become incapacitated. A power of attorney that does not become active until you are incapacitated is termed springing.

Financial and Medical

Most powers of attorney relate either to finances or to health decisions, and the American Bar Association recommends that you prepare a separate document for each. The person you name in a financial power of attorney pays your bills, manages your investments and collects rent and revenues for you while you are in a coma. The agent named in a durable power of attorney for health care makes medical decisions on your behalf, such as approving treatment, selecting doctors and authorizing continuation or withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now


You must think ahead if you wish your agent to act for you if you fall into a coma or suffer other medical incapacity. Only someone of sound mind can execute a power of attorney, for obvious reasons. Once you are in a coma, it is impossible for you to select an agent, and even if you are slipping in and out of mental capacity, a court will invalidate your power of attorney if it appears that your mental faculties were impaired at the time of the choice.


If you fall into a coma without having prepared a power of attorney, your spouse or family must go to court to get someone appointed to handle your finances or make your health care decisions. Not only is this a burden on family members in an already stressful time, but attorney fees and court costs can be expensive. This type of emergency can also open the door to family feuds and infighting, and you have no assurance that your most trusted advisor will be the person appointed. A power of attorney can provide inexpensive and invaluable protection.

Ready to appoint a power of attorney? Get Started Now
Does a Surgeon Have to Tell You to Do a Power of Attorney If You Are to Have Heart Surgery?



Related articles

New Jersey Durable Power of Attorney

Granting power of attorney to someone you trust allows that person to take care of your legal, financial and medical affairs on your behalf. In New Jersey, a "durable" power of attorney lets another person take care of your affairs even if you become incapacitated.

Possible Power of Attorney Complications

A power of attorney can be an effective way to delegate responsibility for managing your finances and making health-related decisions when you are no longer able or willing to make these decisions yourself. However, complications can arise from the time the POA is executed up until the point that all duties have been performed by the person you appoint.

Risks of a Financial Power of Attorney

Giving someone power of attorney over your financial affairs can be frightening, especially if the reason you need the power of attorney is because you have been incapacitated in some way. Having unsupervised access to money can bring out the worst instincts in some people, but if you choose your agent carefully, having a trusted individual to act as an agent on your behalf can be a huge help.

Related articles

What Can Happen if You Don't Have a Power of Attorney?

If you suddenly became unable to handle your own finances or make your own health care choices, a person you appointed ...

Medical Situations That Require a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

The ability to consent to or refuse medical treatment is a fundamental right afforded to you under the law. If you lose ...

Power of Attorney Vs. Conservatorship

Timing is everything in understanding the differences between a power of attorney and a conservatorship. While both ...

What Is a Revocable Power of Attorney Form?

A revocable power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document that appoints an agent, or attorney-in-fact, to handle ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED