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Who can make health care decisions under Utah law without an advance health care directive?

Under the Utah law governing advance health care directives, provisions have been made for circumstances in which a patient has not signed an advance health care directive and the patient is now unable to communicate his or her wishes regarding health care decisions. Utah Code 75-2a-108 provides a list of surrogates who may act on behalf of the patient in making health care decisions.  Under this section of the Utah Code, priority is given first to the patient's spouse (unless divorced or legally separated). If there is no spouse available or willing to act as surrogate, then priority is given next to the patient's children. Priority to act as a surrogate for the patient is given next to the following family members (in descending order of priority): a parent; a sibling; a grandchild; or a grandparent. Contact Utah estate planning attorney Stephen Howard to schedule a consultation and learn more about health care decisions in Utah.

Utah Advance Health Care Directive In the absence of any of the family members listed with priority to act as a surrogate for the patient, then a non-family member may act as a surrogate for the patient in making health care decisions if the person meets the following qualifications:

- is 18 years of age or older;
- has health care decision making capacity;
- has exhibited special care and concern for the patient;
- knows the patient and the patient's personal values; and
- is reasonably available to act as a surrogate.

A properly executed advance health care directive allows you to name an agent authorized to make important health care decisions on your behalf if you are cannot make decisions or speak for yourself. Making your wishes known can help provide peace of mind to family or loved ones at a time that they need it most. Completing and executing an advance health care directive is not enough; you should also discuss the directive with your family or loved ones. Doing so can help them understand your wishes, and in a time of crisis can provide them with the assurance that they are what you would want them to do.

An advance health care directive is an important piece of any Utah estate plan. Wills, trusts, and powers of attorney also play important roles in the estate planning process. The first step in developing your own personalized Utah estate plan is to consult with an attorney regarding how these tools can benefit you and your family.

Finding an Estate Planning Attorney in Utah

An estate planning attorney can help you understand the issues related to creating an advance health care directive, living will, or medical power of attorney in Utah. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with Utah estate planning attorney Stephen Howard.

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Estate Planning Attorney Wills & Trusts Estate Planning - Setting up a good estate plan requires more than filling out a free online form or downloading software. But a good estate plan does not have to be overly expensive. A good attorney can guide you through the process of determining what estate planning tools are right for you and your family, and then create personalized estate planning documents to protect you and your family, and give you the peace of mind you deserve. Contact us today to start the process of setting up a personalized estate plan.

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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, Morgan, and Wasatch Counties - and all of Utah.

Stephen W. Howard is Utah attorney, practicing as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC.
With offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties, we are pleased to provide legal services to clients throughout Utah.
Call 801-449-1409 to arrange for a confidential initial consultation.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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