D. Andrew Spalding

Prior to July 1, 2018, Indiana was a “healthcare by committee” state – any number of people could act on a person’s behalf when they were adjudged to be incompetent. The circumstances sometimes resulted in confusion as to who may speak for the incompetent patient.  Indiana law now specifies a priority order for people who may consent on behalf of those who have been adjudged by an  attending that the patient is incompetent (unable to consent for themselves).

The priority order is as follows:

(1) A judicially appointed guardian of the person or a representative

(2) A spouse.

(3) An adult child.

(4) A parent.

(5) An adult sibling.

(6) A grandparent.

(7) An adult grandchild.

(8) The nearest other adult relative in the next degree of kinship who is not listed in subdivisions (2) through (7).

(9) A friend who:

(A) is an adult;

(B) has maintained regular contact with the individual; and

(C) is familiar with the individual’s activities, health, and religious or moral beliefs.

(10) The individual’s religious superior, if the individual is a member of a religious order.

Further, if the person is a minor, and thus unable to consent by statute, then the order follows a similar trajectory:

(1) A judicially appointed guardian of the person or a representative

(2) A parent or an individual in loco parentis

(3) An adult sibling of the minor

(4) A grandparent of the minor

Your health is important. If you’re interested in naming a health care representative, or completing a health care power of attorney, give May Oberfell Lorber a call at (574)-243-4100 or stop by our offices. We will be more than happy to assist you regarding your wishes for future care.

This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

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