Medical Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania: Making Healthcare Decisions on Your Behalf

When it comes to healthcare decisions, ensuring that your wishes are respected and your interests are protected is paramount. In Pennsylvania, appointing a Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) is a crucial aspect of estate planning that allows someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. Let’s explore what you need to know about MPOA in Pennsylvania.

What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?

A Medical Power of Attorney is a legally binding document that allows a trusted individual, known as your healthcare agent or proxy, to make medical-related decisions for you if you are unable to communicate or make any such decisions for yourself. This includes decisions regarding medical treatment, end-of-life care, and other healthcare matters.

Choosing a Healthcare Agent

The ideal candidate for this role should be an individual you have complete confidence in, who comprehends your beliefs and choices concerning medical care, and who is prepared and capable of making tough decisions on your behalf.

Scope of Authority

The authority granted to your healthcare agent through the MPOA is broad and comprehensive. Your agent has the authority to make any and all healthcare decisions on your behalf, including consenting to or refusing medical treatment, accessing medical records, and communicating with healthcare providers.

Advance Directives

In addition to appointing a healthcare agent, you may also wish to create advance directives, such as a Living Will, to provide guidance on specific medical treatments or end-of-life care preferences. While the MPOA grants your agent the authority to make decisions, advance directives offer additional clarity and guidance regarding your healthcare wishes.

Legal Requirements

In Pennsylvania, there are specific legal requirements for creating a valid Medical Power of Attorney. The document must be signed in the presence of two witnesses or a notary public and must be dated. It’s essential to ensure that your MPOA complies with Pennsylvania law to ensure its validity and enforceability.

Review and Update

It’s important to review and update your MPOA periodically, especially after significant life events or changes in your health status. Ensuring that your healthcare agent is aware of any updates or changes to your healthcare preferences helps ensure your wishes are honored and respected.


Appointing a Medical Power of Attorney is a proactive step towards ensuring that your healthcare preferences are respected and your interests are protected in the event of incapacity. By choosing a trusted healthcare agent and creating a comprehensive MPOA that aligns with your wishes, you can have peace of mind knowing that your healthcare decisions are in capable hands. If you have questions about Medical Power of Attorney or other aspects of estate planning in Pennsylvania, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can provide valuable guidance and support.