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



Related articles

Power of Attorney Vs. Conservatorship

Timing is everything in understanding the differences between a power of attorney and a conservatorship. While both provide an individual with the authority to make decisions regarding the financial matters of another person, a POA is executed in advance of incapacity, while a conservatorship happens upon petition to the court after an individual is no longer able to competently make important financial decisions.

How to Create Power of Attorney Forms

A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes another person to act on your behalf in certain specified situations. State law governs the creation and validity of power of attorney forms. These forms oversee the agency relationship between the principal, who is the person who created the power of attorney, and the agent or attorney-in-fact, who is the person receiving authority to do something in the power of attorney. Powers of attorney can authorize a variety of decision-making powers -- such as financial or health care decisions or decisions that affect your children -- in the event that you become unable to make such decisions.

Difference Between Living Will & Durable Power of Attorney

At some point, perhaps toward the end of your life, you may need help taking care of your finances, making medical decisions or communicating your wishes to your physicians and family. A living will, power of attorney for health care or power of attorney for finances can direct your health care or give others authority to act on your behalf.

Power of Attorney

Related articles

Medical Power of Attorney Explanation

When you are competent to make your own medical decisions, your health care providers rely on you to help determine ...

How to Set Up Enduring Power of Attorney

If you are worried about what will happen to your assets and affairs should you become incapacitated, setting up an ...

Can Banks Do Power of Attorney Forms for You?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to act in your place. This is useful if ...

Possible Power of Attorney Complications

A power of attorney can be an effective way to delegate responsibility for managing your finances and making ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED