My father has a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney that appoints me as his agent "effective on [his] inability to make or communicate health care decisions". It goes on to say that if I am unable or unwilling to serve, he appoints my brother, and if my brother is unable or unwilling to serve, he appoints his wife.

If I am unable to serve as his agent for a specific health care crisis, can I pass that on to my brother just for that crisis? Or, once passed, is the appointment my brother's forever now?

If it changes anything, my brother and I get along extremely well and are of one mind with regards to our father's health, the challenge is that Dad lives in Arizona and my brother and I both live in Colorado, so we generally take turns flying down there and helping him out. It would be great if whoever was there at the time, had the legal powers.

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    Ah, yes, a very useful question in these times, when "kids" often move far away. I've been in an analogous situation myself... Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 20:51

2 Answers 2


Redo the PoA

If it’s unclear whether the agent can be transferred temporarily or if such a transfer is permanent, it’s badly drafted.

It should say what your father wants it to say in a way that actually works. He should work with his lawyer and the family to get a PoA that isn’t ambiguous and covers all reasonable contingencies.


Sometimes the POA instrument, or supplementary state common law, will authorize someone appointed under a POA to delegate authority to someone to act on a case by case basis. It may also be possible to direct decisions remotely.

Generally, surrendering authority to someone rather than merely delegating it, is a one time, all or nothing deal and can't be reeled back.

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