My sister whose husband has only weeks to live due to liver cancer was told by a hospice social worker that she does not need power of attorney in Arizona because husbands and wives in Arizona are each other's "guardians." Doesn't sound quite right to me.
1 Answer from Attorneys
The social worker could not be more wrong, and tell her that she should not be practicing law without a license. The spouse does not have any right to talk to the husband's doctors or to see his confidential medical information or to make decisions for him as provided in the HIPPA law. Further, even though "they" have given him only weeks to live, we have seen many cases where the person recovers for long periods of time. If the spouse wants something for her husband that the doctors refuse to do, then with his durable medical health care power of attorney, she can direct the doctors and tell them what to do. Note, all powers of attorney cease to be of any force or effect after the principal dies. Please do not take medical personnel as having legal expertise.
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