Code of the District of Columbia

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

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by emergency legislation that will expire on June 10, 2021. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation affecting this section, click this link: Permanent Version.*

(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, in the presence or, during a period of time for which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency pursuant to § 7-2304.01, the electronic presence of the principal, 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; Mar. 17, 2021, D.C. Act 24-30, § 810(b)(4), 68 DCR 003101.)

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.

Applicability

Section 7011 of D.C. Law 22-33 repealed § 4 of D.C. Law 21-72. Therefore the creation of this section by D.C. Law 21-72 has been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 21-72: § 4 of D.C. Law 21-72 provided that the change made to this section by § 2 of D.C. Law 21-72 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been given effect.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 810(b)(4) of Coronavirus Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-30, Mar. 17, 2021, 68 DCR 003101).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 810(b)(4) of Coronavirus Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Act 23-405, Aug. 19, 2020, 67 DCR 10235).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-72, see § 7011 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-72, see § 7011 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 810(b)(4) of Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-130, Oct. 9, 2020, 67 DCR 8622).