A Colorado medical power of attorney is a document that lets you appoint someone to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and can’t communicate with medical professionals.
In Colorado, this document is commonly referred to as a:
- Advance medical directive
- Medical durable power of attorney
Laws: Section 15-14-506 of the Colorado Revised Statutes describes the creation of medical powers of attorney in CO.
If you’re creating a medical power of attorney in Colorado, you should consider adding the following documents to your estate plan:
- Living Will: A living will is another type of advance medical directive that gives specific instructions to medical professionals on what type of care and treatment you do or don’t want to receive in an emergency situation. In Colorado, a living will is called a declaration.
- Colorado (Financial) Power of Attorney: This document is similar to a medical power of attorney, but it addresses the financial aspects of your life. You can make your financial POA agent’s powers as comprehensive or as limited as you would like.
How to Fill in a Medical Power of Attorney in Colorado
Follow these steps to ensure that your document meets the requirements of Colorado MPOA laws:
Download a Colorado medical power of attorney
You can use the following templates as a guide to help you create your own MPOA in Colorado:
Step 1: Choose an Agent
Your agent will make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make or communicate your own decisions. They will have significant power over your healthcare decisions, so it’s important to choose this person wisely.
Who should you choose as an agent?
There are very few restrictions on who you can name as an agent in Colorado. Your agent must be over the age of 18, medically competent, and willing to serve as your agent.
Most people name a close friend or family member to be their agent. The person you choose should have a clear understanding of your preferences regarding medical treatment. They must keep your wishes and beliefs in mind, rather than their own, when making decisions about your health care.
Who can’t be your agent?
Colorado law doesn’t specifically restrict anyone from serving as a healthcare agent as long as they meet the basic mental capacity requirements and age requirements.
However, there may be questions over the validity of the document if you choose someone who works at your health care facility (like a nurse or doctor) due to conflict of interest.
Can you have more than one agent?
Colorado law doesn’t specifically address whether you can name multiple co-agents.
You can (and should), however, name successor agents who will take over if the first agent you have named is unable or unwilling to serve as your healthcare representative. The agents you name will be contacted in the order they’re listed on the form.
Step 2: Specify what healthcare decisions your agent can make
You can write in the form which decisions you would like your agent to make when acting on your behalf.
Can you limit your agent’s powers?
Yes, you can limit your agent’s authority over your medical decisions by writing specific instructions in the form. Your agent must also abide by any instructions you leave in the MPOA form or another directive (like a living will or DNR).
What is your agent legally unable to do?
Your agent can’t do anything that goes against your wishes or isn’t in your best interest. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to clearly state your wishes in the form — even if you’ve already discussed them with your agent.
Relevant law: C.R.S. § 15-14-506
When can your agent start making decisions for you?
Your medical durable power of attorney only allows your agent to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated (lack the ability to make medical decisions for yourself).
Relevant law: C.R.S. § 15-14-506
Step 3: Sign the form
To finalize the document, the principal needs to sign and date the MPOA.
Do you need witnesses or notary signatures?
No, Colorado law doesn’t require any witness or notary signatures. However, it’s good to have two witnesses sign the document and/or have it notarized, so there is no question about the document’s validity. Also consider having your agent sign an acknowledgement accepting their duties.
Who can’t be a witness?
Because no witnesses are required, there are also no restrictions on who can be a witness. That being said, it’s best to choose a disinterested witness — avoid anyone who is involved in your care or treatment and anyone who will inherit from your estate after your death so there are no questions about conflict of interest.
How long is your Colorado medical power of attorney effective?
Your completed Colorado medical power of attorney form will continue to be effective until you revoke it or until you pass away.
How to Revoke a Colorado Medical Power of Attorney
You can revoke your medical power of attorney at any time as long as you have the capacity to do so. Although it is not required, it is a good idea to revoke the document in writing.
If your spouse was appointed as your agent, then the appointment will automatically terminate if you get divorced.
Additionally, if your agent is unable or unwilling to perform their duties, and no successor agent is named, then the MPOA will no longer be effective.
Relevant Law: C.R.S. § 15-14-506