Health Care Power of Attorney

Health Care Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual to choose who they want to designate as your health care agent to make decisions for you when you cannot make or communicate those decisions. The healthcare power of attorney can express your wishes regarding life-prolonging measures, mental health treatment, and any other health care decisions to the extent that you express specific limitations or restrictions.

The healthcare Power of Attorney is fiduciary in nature, which means that your health care agent is obligated to use due care and to act in your best interest, in accordance with your wishes.

You may authorize the health care agent(s) to consent to the withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging measures, give direction regarding medical and/or mental health treatments, and routine medical decisions.

A health care power of attorney may contain or incorporate by reference any lawful guidelines or directions relating to your health care as you deem appropriate. In the event of death, you may authorize your health care agent to donate your organs and/or authorize an autopsy. A health care power of attorney will remain effective if a court appoints a guardian to act on your behalf, unless the court issues an order suspending the authority of the health care agent. You may indicate in the document your choice of a guardian in the event guardianship proceedings are commenced.

To be effective, a health care power of attorney must be witnessed by 2 persons and certified by a notary public. You may revoke a health care power of attorney at any time that you are able to communicate health care decisions. Each health care agent named must receive the revocation. If you’ve named your spouse as your health care agent, then the authority of that health care agent will be revoked upon the entry of a divorce or separation between the principal and the agent. This document should be reviewed periodically, especially in the event of divorce, or death or disability of a named agent, to ensure that they continue to reflect your desires about health care decisions.

Additionally, for $10, you may file a copy with the Advance Health Care Directive Registry maintained by the Secretary of State (www.secretary.state.nc.us/ahcdr/), although this is not required.

Call the Law Office of Crystal M. Richardson 336-283-5108 or                              to ensure that your health care power of attorney document is executed properly and clearly expresses your wishes.