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A health care power of attorney is a legal document by which you give authority to another person or persons to consent to or refuse any or all medical care, including mental health treatment, on your behalf. This authority only applies when a physician or eligible psychologist determines that you are unable to make or communicate these decisions yourself. 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.
Additionally, 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. The authority of a 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. A signed copy of a health care power of attorney should be given to your family physician, your attorney, spouse and health care agent and any alternate named in your health care power of attorney. For $10, you also may file a copy with the Advance Health Care Directive Registry maintained by the Secretary of State (www.secretary.state.nc.us/ahcdr/). A safe deposit box or locked safe is not recommended for storage.
Call the Adaramola Law Firm today at 828-348-0189 or fill out the contact form to schedule a consultation to learn more.