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Minnesota Durable Power of Attorney Laws

State laws establish guidelines and procedures for durable powers of attorney, which allow individuals to designate a "health care agent" (usually a trusted relative or friend) to make important health care decisions on their behalf. While the durable power of attorney must be written and signed while the signee is of sound mind, they are intended to be used when a patient is unconscious or otherwise lacks capacity to make such decisions. They typically are used in conjunction with a living will, which details an individual's health care and end-of-life preferences, including the use of artificial respirators.

The main provisions of Minnesota's durable power of attorney laws are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Health Care Power of Attorney section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 145C.01, et seq. Health Care Directives
Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts Power to consent, refuse to consent, withdraw consent to any care, treatment, procedure or health care decision to maintain, diagnose, or treat mental or physical condition of principal including food and water by artificial means
Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney (1) signed by principal; (2) dated; (3) signed by 2 adult witnesses or acknowledged by principal before a notary public; (4) when inconsistencies arise between proxy, living will, or agent, most recently executed document takes precedence (suggested statutory form §145C.05)
Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney Divorce revokes any designation of former spouse as agent to make health care decisions. Revocable at any time by (1) destroying; (2) written statement expressing intent to revoke; (3) verbally expressing intent to revoke in presence of 2 witnesses; (4) executing subsequent instrument
Validity from State-to-State Power of attorney document, when executed in another state in compliance with that state's law is valid and enforceable in Minnesota to the extent it is consistent with Minnesota law
If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney Provider who has legal and actual capability of providing transfer and who is unwilling to provide directed health care may transfer patient to complying provider but must take all reasonable steps to provide directed health care until patient is transferred
Immunity for Attending Physician Health care provider not subject to criminal prosecution, civil liability or professional disciplinary action who relies in good faith on health care decision made by agent; no criminal, civil, or professional liability for health care provider who administers health care to keep patient alive (despite agent's decision) if all reasonable steps were promptly taken to transfer patient to complying provider

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Minnesota estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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