If you have a family member or a close friend in the hospital, that individual may be considering the need for one type of power of attorney or another. A hospitalised individual may have a need for a financial power of attorney or a durable power of attorney for health care. Indeed, your family member or friend actually may require both types of powers of attorney. There are specific procedures in place through which you can become the agent through a power of attorney for someone in the hospital.
Determine what type of power of attorney the hospitalised individual requires. A financial power of attorney is appropriate if the individual is unable or likely to be unavailable to deal with her finances. A durable power of attorney is wise to ensure that someone she trusts is available to make important medical decisions if she is incapacitated at some future point in time.
Obtain an appropriate power of attorney form (or forms, if both types of powers of attorney are created). You can obtain a durable power of attorney for health care from the hospital at which your family member or friend is located. A financial power of attorney is available at most banks and other financial institutions.
Complete the power of attorney form, designating yourself as the agent. If there are any limitations placed on the power of attorney by the patient, make sure that she includes them in the power of attorney form. The standard form for both types of powers of attorney include room to spell out any desired limitations.
Find a notary public available to go to the patient's hospital. You likely will find a notary public at the medical centre--at least during daytime business hours.
Arrange for the patient to sign the power of attorney form (or forms) in front of the notary public.
Keep the original power of attorney form (or forms) if you are designated the agent. The patient is provided a copy for her records.
If the person in the hospital desires both a financial power of attorney and a durable power of attorney for health care, consider obtaining a second person to take on one of these tasks. You definitely can undertake both responsibilities--and if you are married to the hospitalised individual, that makes sense. However, if you are a more distant relative or a friend, having another person take on the tasks of one of the powers of attorney avoids the appearance of a conflict in the eyes of others.
Do not delay in obtaining a power of attorney form when a person is hospitalised. If the person becomes incapacitated (mentally or physically) before a power of attorney is executed, she is precluded from creating a power of attorney due to her status.