In New Jersey, a durable power of attorney is the legal process that grants a named individual the ability to make important health care or end of life decisions on behalf of someone else. Most often the designation of a power of attorney (POA) is made when a living will is created. State laws regulate how power of attorneys are processed and what is required to make it legal, which means this type of document is best created with the guidance of a New Jersey attorney.
Creating Power of Attorney
Many individuals create a POA without the guidance of an attorney. The issue with creating legal documents yourself isn’t in generating the documents, but what happens if anything is challenged. For instance, if you need to make medical decisions for your mother but a sibling disagrees, who will you contact? If you don’t have an attorney on retainer, you may be struggling to find legal assistance. When you work with an attorney to create this document for loved ones or yourself, you can turn to them if any issues arise as well.
Power of Attorney Permission
When a person is named a POA for another individual, it gives them specific permissions. Examples of permissions granted by this type of document include:
- Decisions to accept/refuse treatments, services, or procedures to diagnose, care, or treat a patient’s mental or physical condition
- Permission to continue or discontinue life-sustaining treatments
- Able to accept or reject the services of a particular health care provider or physician
- Denial of medical device placement or procedure
Power of Attorney Requirements in New Jersey
Under New Jersey state law, a person can only be named a POA, if they meet the following requirements.
- Competent adult
- Signed and dated a power of attorney form
- Two witnesses declared a power of attorney form was signed when declarant was of sound mind and body
If physicians have documented that the declarant lacks the ability to make decisions for themselves, a power of attorney can be directly implemented.
How to Revoke Power of Attorney
If a situation warrants a POA being revoked, it is possible to do so under New Jersey law. In order for this to happen, the revocation notice must be oral or written. An execution of subsequent directive must be filed. It’s important to note if a married couple divorces and a power of attorney is in place, the former spouse’s designation is automatically revoked. Additionally, if a patient is able to clearly express their wishes, their directions will take precedent over any proxy directive.
Reasons to Have a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is not something everyone thinks they need but do. The reason you should have this legal document is to ensure your affairs and wishes can be carried on if you ever become unwell or unable to take care things yourself. If a person becomes unwell and does not have a POA in place then banks, institutions, and physicians will be unable to take direction from anyone else. What this means is that no one will be able to pay your bills or make decisions regarding your health care.
If you don’t have a power of attorney in place, you need to get one as soon as possible. The Law Office of John L. Schettino, LLC can explain all the legalities associated with this type of document and make suggestions for the best way to handle your situation. Contact the office for your free consultation today.