The most important decisions about our health care must often be made when we are unconscious or otherwise unable to make them. A legal process called a durable (or health care) power of attorney allows individuals to name a trusted person (the "health care agent") to make these decisions on their behalf. This person may give informed consent to medical staff, often following guidelines established in a living will, in which your health care and end-of-life preferences are clearly stated.
A Brief Summary of New Hampshire Durable Power of Attorney Law
The following chart provides general information about New Hampshire's durable power of attorney law. See The Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Your Health Care for a summary.
|Code Section||137-J:1 et seq. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care|
|Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts||Document delegating health care decisions to agent; includes consent, refusal to consent or withdrawal of consent to any care, treatment, admission to a health care facility, any service or procedure to maintain, diagnose or treat an individual's physical or mental condition. Artificial nutrition and hydration may not be withdrawn or withheld unless clear expression of such power in document. Does not include power to consent to voluntary admission to state institution, voluntary sterilization or consent to withholding of life-sustaining treatment for pregnant patient unless treatment will not permit continuing development and live birth of unborn child.|
|Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney||(1) In writing; (2) substantially statutory form; (3) 2 subscribing witnesses who affirm that principal appeared to be of sound mind and free from duress and that he was aware of the nature of the document and signed it voluntarily; (4) include disclosure statement in substantially same form as §137-J:14 prior to execution|
|Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney||Revocable by (1) notifying attorney-in-fact or health care provider orally or in writing or in any other way communicating specific intent to revoke; (2) execution of subsequent durable power of attorney; (3) filing of action of divorce if spouse is agent. Revocation effective upon notice to health care provider or to attorney-in-fact. Person who is directly interested or related to patient may file an action to revoke durable power of attorney on grounds that principal was not of sound mind or under duress, fraud, or undue influence.|
|Validity from State-to-State||Documents executed in another state are enforceable if they are in compliance with the law of that state or jurisdiction; foreign instruments are restricted to and must be in compliance with the laws of New Hampshire.|
|If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney||Unwilling physician or health care provider must inform attorney-in-fact and allow for transfer of patient to another facility|
|Immunity for Attending Physician||No person acting in good faith pursuant to durable power of attorney terms shall be subject to criminal or civil liability or unprofessional conduct. No liability for facility which refuses to carry out terms of agent's direction provided they informed agent of their refusal.|
Note: State laws are constantly changing, usually through the enactment of newly signed legislation but sometimes through higher court rulings and other means. You may want to contact a New Hampshire health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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New Hampshire Durable Power of Attorney Laws: Related Resources
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