Some of our most important health care decisions tend to come toward the end of peoples' lives, when they may be unable to make informed decisions. The durable power of attorney, therefore, allows individuals to appoint someone else to make these decisions on their behalf. North Carolina durable power of attorney laws require that the appointed individual be at least 18 years old, have the capacity to understand this responsibility, and that the document be signed in the presense of two witnesses acknowledged by a notary.
The following chart lists the main elements of North Carolina's durable power of attorney laws. See Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Living Wills for more details.
|Code Section||§32A-15 et seq. Health Care Powers of Attorney|
|Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts||Decisions regarding life-sustaining procedures, including those which serve to artificially prolong the dying process and may include mechanical ventilation, dialysis, antibiotics, artificial nutrition and hydration and other forms of treatment which sustain, restore, or supplant vital bodily functions but do not include care necessary to provide comfort or alleviate pain|
|Legal Requirements for Durable Power of Attorney||(1) 18 yrs. old; (2) understanding and capacity to make and communicate health care decisions; (3) in writing; (4) signed in presence of 2 witnesses and acknowledged before a notary (suggested form §32A-25)|
|Revocation of Durable Power of Attorney||May be revoked at anytime by principal capable of making and communicating health care decisions or by death of principal or by execution of a subsequent instrument or written instrument of revocation or any other method where intent to revoke is communicated (effective upon communication). Revoked on decree of divorce if spouse is agent, except if alternate has been appointed. If all health care attorneys-in-fact are unwilling or unable to act, the health care power of attorney will cease to be effective|
|Validity from State-to-State||-|
|If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney||-|
|Immunity for Attending Physician||No person acting on the authority of the health care attorney shall be liable for actions taken pursuant to decision of health care attorney. Withholding or discontinuing life-sustaining procedures shall not be considered suicide or cause of death for criminal or civil purpose.|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a North Carolina estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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North Carolina Durable Power of Attorney Laws: Related Resources
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