Does Medical Power of Attorney need to be notarized?

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No one can predict what lies ahead in the future, but a medical power of attorney document has the power to guide you and your loved ones to prepare for a potential medical situation. In 2022, you’d be surprised how many folks have medical power of attorney. But the question is, does Medical Power of Attorney need to be notarized?

When someone does not have the mental or physical capacity to make informed medical decisions or assess medical information, the right course of action is to sign a medical power of attorney. Like traditional power of attorney documents, this piece of paper gives a third party the power to make healthcare decisions at your behest.

Let’s dive into the fundamentals, importance, and steps of notarizing medical power of attorney:

What is Medical Power of Attorney? 

A medical POA or power of attorney is an advance directive to assign an agent that takes healthcare decisions on the principal’s behalf. The assigned individual gets the authority to review your healthcare needs and make direct medical decisions that serve your best interests. In essence, a medical POA is a vital type of power of attorney document.

A medical power of attorney comes into play when an individual can no longer make basic medical decisions. In the past, having a reliable medical POA has saved people and their loved ones’ lives under various health emergencies and circumstances.

It’s about transfering the legal authority

Although it depends on the state, medical power of attorney has more than one name. Other common names of a medical POA include medical directive, personal directive, healthcare power of attorney, and healthcare proxy. When you see people discuss a medical POA, they’re mostly dissecting its legal authority for someone else to make medical decisions.

In some instances, a medical POA gives the authority to a certified medical agent. In this case, the person gets the same rights as any to take charge of the healthcare decisions of the principal. A medical power of attorney is usually triggered when someone has to go under anesthesia or becomes incapable of making health decisions.

Similarly, a medical POA enters the picture when a minor is involved or someone is neurologically not capable of making medical decisions. Oftentimes, people with dementia or severe injury have no choice but to invoke the medical power of attorney.

A medical POA is the most practical and effective solution to protect the principal’s health and make swift medical decisions. Remember, situations that trigger a medical power of attorney can be unique. Predominantly, a medical POA gives authority to a family member like a parent or a spouse to make healthcare decisions for the principal.  

Why is a Medical Power of Attorney important?

A medical POA is a legally binding document that allows you to name someone who can make critical medical decisions on your behalf. Whether it’s medication, medical treatments, or end-of-life medical care, the selected person gets full authority to make decisions about your health.  

In the age of uncertainty, many people have pre-signed and notarized medical POA. Think of it as a backup plan that works in the best interests of you and your loved ones. Usually, the main decision for people is to choose the right person to make their medical decisions in the event of incapacitation.

When you fill out a medical power of attorney, consider people who you deem most reliable and honest. And this, in turn, will make your medical power of attorney more durable. Depending on various reasons, you can better grasp the value of signing and notarizing a medical power of attorney.

A peace of mind

Health crisis often spirals out of control, and when you’re severely injured or too ill, the burden of responsibility falls on your loved ones to make medical decisions for you. But without a medical power of attorney, you risk creating conflict about who may or may not be able to act in your best interests.  

When no agent is assigned, it also leaves your loved ones in the hanging, leading to more confusion and stress amidst a painful time. In a medical POA, you get the opportunity to choose a trusted individual who can meet your healthcare needs and act as a legal healthcare agent.

Prepare and support a medical procedure

Medical decisions can be daunting, especially when someone needs to go under anesthesia or a major medical procedure. In these situations, it is best to revoke a medical power of attorney. Naturally, you want to depend on someone reliable to ensure a medical procedure works out and take additional steps to protect your health.

Address serious health issues

When someone suffers from a degenerative disease and needs someone to address key health issues, it is best to invoke a medical power of attorney. Whether it’s ALS, cancer, or Alzheimer’s disease, most of these conditions require people to go through consistent medical treatment.

Unfortunately, at some point, people cannot make rational medical decisions. Instead, give the authority to someone in a medical POA who can communicate your medical wishes and healthcare needs. But when a medical power of attorney is not signed and notarized, the wrong person may assume control of your health decisions.

In terms of moral and religious beliefs, a medical POA considers your wishes, and the assigned healthcare agent ensures these requirements are fulfilled.

Consistent medical decisions

When someone becomes incompetent, medical power of attorney clears the air. It names the person responsible for making medical decisions on the principal’s behalf. If you cannot communicate, the assigned healthcare agent would also coordinate with the healthcare professionals to share your wishes and make the best healthcare decisions.

Does Medical Power of Attorney need to be notarized?

If you’re wondering whether or not your medical power of attorney needs to be notarized, the answer is yes. Like an affidavit, it is integral to sign a medical power of attorney n the presence of a licensed and certified notary public.

If you fail to notarize a medical POA, it won’t make the document legally binding. Your public notary acts as an official state representative. People count on public notaries to review, validate, and verify the involved parties’ identities before signing the agreement.

On top of being a convenient piece of document, people use a medical POA to avoid a conflict of interest that might arise when someone becomes incapacitated. Remember, when you invoke a medical power of attorney, the notarization process boils down to the state laws.

But most states require the principal to have two witnesses when signing a medical power of attorney. Failure to sign in the presence of witnesses and the public notary would void the document. And without present witnesses, medical power of attorney can get challenged in a court of law.

Who can witness a Medical Power of Attorney?

Before you sign a medical power of attorney, ensure the adult witnesses are of sound mind and not coerced. You cannot name an adult witness if that person has a legal claim on one of your properties. Similarly, you cannot name a blood-related or spouse witness.

As a principal, you also cannot name a witness as one of the staff members of your attending physician. Additionally, you cannot name a witness who is your business partner or employee at a health care facility.

How to notarize a Medical Power of Attorney?

Most people now understand that having medical power of attorney is a straightforward action – it just requires signing the document in the presence of two different witnesses.

In case of incapacitation, you can use the PandaDoc Notary platform to notarize your medical power of attorney document. On PandaDoc Notary, you can also avail mobile e-Signing, electronic journaling, document bundling, and other attractive notarization services.

Since notarization space is evolving, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that remote notarization has become a new standard. Follow the lead of the most advanced notarization platform like PandaDoc Notary. You can coordinate with an online notary to notarize your medical power of attorney via PandaDoc Notary.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to notarize a medical POA:

Step 1: Create a new notarization request

Inside PandaDoc Notary, click “New request.” Make sure to upload relevant documents related to notarizing medical power of attorney (PDF, Word, PowerPoint, JPG, or PNG).

Step 2: Check you email

Check your email and follow through with a set of instructions.

Step 3: Confirm your ID

Prepare to answer a couple of questions to validate and authenticate the identity of people mentioned in the medical POA.

Step 4: Join the session

Sign in on the PandaDoc Notary platform at the scheduled time to initiate your notarization session. You will find the remote notarization on PandaDoc Notary more convenient than the in-person notarization process. The notary will apply a digital signature and stamp to complete the online notarization.

Step 5: Download your POA

Once the appointment session is over, download the completed and notarized medical POA.

Final thoughts

Whether it is surgery or anesthesia, medical power of attorney gives the right to another person to make these medical decisions. The process of notarizing medical power of attorney is straightforward. In the age of remote notarization, it has become easier to notarize medical power of attorney.

Remember, if a medical power of attorney is not signed in the presence of a public notary, there is a good chance it will not get validated. In retrospect, medical power of attorney is a valuable document. After all, it allows you to appoint a qualified agent to make informed medical decisions when you cannot make such decisions on your own.

Leverage PandaDoc Notary platform

With PandaDoc Notary, you can reap the benefits of a remote notarization process. PandaDoc Notary has the experts and agents you need to make the notarization process a walk in the park. There is no need to panic if you’re new to the notarization world and are unclear about the notarization process.

You can reach out to the available notary agents at the PandaDoc Notary platform to navigate the process better and avoid common notarization mistakes. Online notary agents are highly skilled and experienced individuals who can notarize and verify electronic and digital documents. Opt for PandaDoc Notary’s remote notarization to save your precious time and resources.

Have you got questions about notarizing medical power of attorney? Take advantage of the PandaDoc Notary platform to connect with online notary agents and address key concerns instantly.  

FAQ’s

Do you need a medical power of attorney?

Unexpected elements don’t come knocking on the door. In fact, sudden illnesses and injuries are more random than people realize. A medical power of attorney gives you peace of mind for your loved ones and yourself.

Assign someone reliable and trustworthy who can make important medical decisions on your behalf. When choosing a medical power of attorney, focus on the reliability and durability elements. And that’s because a durable medical POA communicates your desired wishes with clarity and gives authority to the assigned agent to act in your best medical interests.

Where can you get a medical power of attorney form?

The answer to this question is subjective and is a personal choice. In most cases, people prefer to assign a close family member. You can also give medical POA to your spouse, parent, or child. In hindsight, this is a decision that people make on their own terms and preference.

Is a medical power of attorney different from durable power of attorney?

A durable POA is a different legal provision that grants authority to an agent. You can only invoke the durable POA when you cannot act in your best interests or care for financial or legal affairs.

If these elements check out, the assigned agent takes the financial and legal responsibility to handle these matters. Durable POA expires when the principal departs from the world.  

Unlike medical POA, revoking a durable POA requires more effort. In fact, you have to demonstrate in a court of law that the principal is more than capable to tend to their financial and legal affairs.

In short, a durable POA allows you to choose someone who can manage your legal and financial matters when incapacitated. Conversely, medical power of attorney gives the assigned individual the power to make medical decisions for the principal’s moral and religious beliefs.

How long does a medical power of attorney last?

The typical medical POA expires upon the death of the principal. If the incapacitation of the principal is not entirely true – then revoking medical power of attorney has to be in writing. It is vital to understand that the medical POA does not set in motion until the incapacitated state of the principal is proven.

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