Code of the District of Columbia

§ 21–2205(Perm). Durable power of attorney for health care.

(a) A competent adult may designate, in writing, an individual who shall be empowered to make health-care decisions on behalf of the competent adult, if the competent adult becomes incapable, by reason of mental disability, of making or communicating a choice regarding a particular health-care decision.

(b) A durable power of attorney for health care shall include language which clearly communicates that the principal intends the attorney in fact to have the authority to make health-care decisions on behalf of the principal and shall include language identical or substantially similar to the following:

(1) “This power of attorney shall not be affected by the subsequent incapacity of the principal.” ; or

(2) “This power of attorney becomes effective upon the incapacity of the principal.”

(c) A durable power of attorney for health care shall be dated and signed by the principal and 2 adult witnesses who affirm that the principal was of sound mind and free from duress at the time of signing. The 2 adult witnesses shall not include the principal, the health-care provider of the principal or an employee of the health-care provider of the principal.

(d) Of the 2 adult witnesses referred to in subsection (c) of this section, at least 1 shall not be related to the principal by blood, marriage or adoption and shall not be entitled to any part of the estate of the principal by a current will or operation of law.

(e) Any durable power of attorney for health care executed prior to March 16, 1989, and specifically written to include health-care decision making after incompetency shall be effective, if the execution of the prior document meets the requirements of this subchapter.


(Mar. 16, 1989, D.C. Law 7-189, § 6, 35 DCR 8653; Feb. 5, 1994, D.C. Law 10-68, § 23(f), 40 DCR 6311; Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-255, § 20(e), 44 DCR 1271; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81, § 14(aa), 45 DCR 745; Feb. 27, 2016, D.C. Law 21-72, § 2(c)(3), 63 DCR 208.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 21-2205.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-651.01, § 7-1231.02, § 7-1231.07, § 7-1301.03, § 7-1305.04, § 7-1305.06a, § 7-1305.06b, § 7-1305.07a, and § 21-2207.

Effect of Amendments

The 2016 amendment by D.C. Law 21-72 substituted “subchapter” for “chapter” in (e).

Cross References

Forms for creating a durable power of attorney for health care, see § 21-2207.

Patient or client records, obtaining from health care providers, see § 3-1210.11.