North Carolina Health Care Power of Attorney Law

Power of Attorney and Health Care – General – North Carolina

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A “health care agent” is the person appointed as a health care attorney-in-fact.

A “health care power of attorney” is a written instrument, signed in the presence of two qualified witnesses, and acknowledged before a notary public, pursuant to which an attorney-in-fact or agent is appointed to act for the principal in matters relating to the health care of the  Principal, and which substantially meets the statutory requirements.

The Principal
Any person having understanding and capacity to make and communicate health care decisions, who is 18 years of age or older, may make a health care power of attorney.

Attorney in Fact
Any competent person who is not engaged in providing health care to the principal for remuneration, and who is 18 years of age or older, may act as a health care agent.

Authority
A principal may grant to a health care agent full power and authority to make health care decisions to the same extent that the principal could make those decisions for himself or herself if he or she had understanding and capacity to make and communicate health care decisions.  This grant of power includes the power to authorize withholding or discontinuing life sustaining procedures and the power to authorize the giving or withholding of mental health treatment.

A health care power of attorney may also contain or incorporate by reference any lawful guidelines or directions relating to the health care of the principal as the principal deems appropriate.

A health care power of attorney may incorporate or be combined with an advance instruction for mental health treatment prepared pursuant to Part 2 of Article 3 of Chapter 122C of the General Statutes. A health care agent’s decisions about mental health treatment must be consistent with any statements the principal has expressed in an advance instruction for mental health treatment if one so exists, and if none exists, shall be consistent with what the agent believes in good faith to be the manner in which the principal would act if the principal did not lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate health care decisions.

A health care agent is not subject to criminal prosecution, civil liability, or professional disciplinary action for any action taken in good faith pursuant to an advance instruction for mental health treatment.

A health care power of attorney may authorize the health care agent to exercise any and all rights the principal may have with respect to anatomical gifts, the authorization of any autopsy, and the disposition of remains.

A health care power of attorney may contain, and the authority of the health care agent shall be subject to, the specific limitations or restrictions as the principal deems appropriate.

The powers and authority granted to the health care agent pursuant to a health care power of attorney are limited to the matters addressed in it, and, except as necessary to exercise such powers and authority relating to health care, do not confer any power or authority with respect to the property or financial affairs of the principal.

Effectiveness, Duration, Revocation
A health care power of attorney is revoked by the death of the principal. A health care power of attorney may be revoked by the principal at any time, so long as the principal is capable of making and communicating health care decisions. The principal may exercise this right of revocation by executing and acknowledging an instrument of revocation, by executing and acknowledging a subsequent health care power of attorney, or in any other manner by which the principal is able to communicate an intent to revoke.

A revocation becomes effective only upon communication by the principal to each health care agent named in the revoked health care power of attorney and to the principal’s attending physician or eligible psychologist.

Resignation, Removal, or Substitution of Agent
A health care power of attorney may contain provisions relating to the appointment, resignation, removal and substitution of the health care agent. If all health care agents named in the instrument or substituted, die or for any reason fail or refuse to act, and all methods of substitution have been exhausted, the health care power of attorney ceases to be effective.

Form
The statutory form is not required.

Combination of Forms
A health care power of attorney may be combined with or incorporated into a Declaration of A Desire For A Natural Death.

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Inside North Carolina Health Care Power of Attorney Law