If we become incapacitated, who’s going to take care of our bills or decide on our medical care? If we’ve created a valid durable power of attorney, then the person we selected as our “agent” or “attorney-in-fact” is legally authorized to speak or act on our behalf. The two main types are the health care and financial power of attorneys.
The financial power of attorney allows your appointed agent to do things like write checks, manage your stocks, or collect rent from your real estate on your behalf. This document can be effective immediately or only spring into action once you’ve been determined by your doctors to be incapacitated, such as have dementia.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A health care power of attorney allows your health care agent to make decisions about your medical care if you become incapacitated. This is often created with or combined with a “living will” or advance health care directive that informs your doctor of the type of treatments you do or don’t want, such as life support. Your health care agent can also consent to medical treatment for you, but shouldn’t contradict your wishes, so be sure to talk to your assigned agent about what you want before catastrophe strikes. If you don’t select an agent and draft this legal document, then a surrogate (usually a spouse, adult child, parent, or adult sibling) will have to be designated to make decisions on your behalf.
Mississippi Health Care Power of Attorney Laws
Mississippi is one of a few states that adopted the Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act that was approved by the Uniform Law Commission in 1993. This act regulates the creation or revocation of health care power of attorneys and how they are treated by medical professionals in Mississippi.
The following chart contains the main Mississippi laws on health care durable power of attorneys.
|Code Sections||Mississippi Code Title 41, Chapter 41, Sections 201 to 229: Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act|
|Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney||The requirements for a valid durable power of attorney in Mississippi are:
Additionally, a copy of the written advance health care directive can be treated the same as the original.
|Specific Powers of Agent and Life-Prolonging Acts||A health care agent can consent, refuse to consent, or withdraw consent to any care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or treat an individual's physical or mental condition.|
|Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney||Unless the document provides a shorter time, it shall be effective until revoked by principal. Durable power of attorneys are revocable at any time the principal has capacity to give the power of attorney for health care by notifying the attorney-in-fact or healthcare provider in writing or by executing a subsequent valid durable power of attorney for health care that revokes the prior power of attorney.
Also, upon divorce or legal separation, the former spouse is automatically revoked from being the health care agent.
|Validity of Out-of-State Power of Attorneys||As long as valid under Mississippi law, a health care directive, including power of attorney, can be created in another state.|
|If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney||The doctor must promptly inform the patient or agent of his or her refusal to follow the patient or agent’s wishes. Then, the doctor must assist the patient in being transferred to another institution or doctor who can follow the requests.|
|Immunity for Attending Physician||If a doctor relies in good faith on a health care decision by an agent with a health care directive, then the doctor isn’t subject to civil, criminal, or professional responsibility for his or her actions.|
You can create your own power of attorney for healthcare on your own using an online sample form or the Mississippi statutory form. If you need help drafting a durable power of attorney or other end-of-life planning documents, such as living wills, wills, or trusts, you should consult with an experienced Mississippi estate planning attorney.
Note: State laws are updated regularly, you should verify these health care laws by conducting your own legal research or asking a lawyer.
Research the Law
Contact a qualified attorney.