A Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) form, also known as a healthcare power of attorney or healthcare proxy, is a legal document that allows an individual (the "principal") to designate another person (the "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") to make healthcare decisions on their behalf in the event they become incapacitated or unable to communicate their wishes. This document is essential for ensuring that healthcare decisions align with the individual's preferences when they can't express them personally.
Principal's Information: The full name, address, and contact details of the person granting the medical power of attorney.
Agent's Information: The full name, address, and contact details of the person who is designated to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal.
Alternate Agent: Some forms allow the designation of an alternate or backup agent in case the primary agent is unwilling or unable to act.
Decision-making Powers: A detailed list or description of medical decisions the agent is authorized to make. This can range from treatment choices, surgical procedures, end-of-life decisions, organ donation preferences, and more.
Specific Limitations: Any restrictions or limits on the agent's decision-making authority. This section allows the principal to specify certain actions the agent cannot take or to provide specific guidelines.
Duration: The start and end dates of the agent's authority, if there are any. Some MPOA forms might only become effective under certain conditions, like the principal being declared incapacitated by a medical professional.
Signature and Date: The principal's signature, affirming their understanding and consent, along with the date of signing.
Witnesses and Notarization: Depending on the jurisdiction, the MPOA might need to be signed in the presence of witnesses, and their signatures might be required. Some states also require the form to be notarized.
Revocation Clause: Information about how the principal can revoke or cancel the MPOA if they change their mind.
It's important to distinguish between a Medical Power of Attorney and a Living Will. While an MPOA designates a person to make healthcare decisions, a Living Will provides specific instructions about the principal's healthcare preferences, especially regarding end-of-life care. Some individuals opt to have both, ensuring their preferences are clear and someone they trust is authorized to make decisions.
Given the significant implications of an MPOA, individuals should discuss their wishes thoroughly with the designated agent and ensure they understand and are willing to act in the principal's best interests. Legal counsel might also be beneficial to ensure the form aligns with state-specific requirements and accurately captures the individual's intentions.