In Colorado, a Medical Power of Attorney is often created in conjunction with an Advance Medical Directive or a Declaration as to Medical Treatment.
Laws: Section 15-14-506 of the Colorado Code describes the medical durable power of attorney. Section 15-18-104 sets out to have a declaration indicating that you do or do not want life-sustaining procedures.
If you are creating a Colorado medical power of attorney, you might also want to create the following documents.
- Living Will: A living will is a document that sets out specifically how you want to be treated from a medical standpoint if you cannot make medical decisions yourself. In Colorado, the living will is the same as the Colorado Directive or Advance Medical Directive.
- 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 tailor this document so that it is as comprehensive or as limited as you would like.
How to Fill in a Medical Power of Attorney in Colorado
The Colorado medical power of attorney form is pretty straightforward. You can follow these steps to ensure that your document meets the requirements of Colorado law.
Step 1: Choose an Agent
Your agent will make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions. They will have significant power to control your healthcare decisions, so choosing this person wisely is important.
Who should you choose as an agent?
There are very few restrictions on who you can name as an agent in Colorado. As long as your agent is over the age of 21 and medically competent, they can be named. They must also be willing to serve as your agent.
Most people will name a close friend or family member to be their agent. The person you name should clearly understand what kind of medical treatment you do and do not wish to receive. They must keep your wishes and beliefs in mind, rather than their own, when making decisions about your health.
Who can’t be your agent?
Colorado law does not specifically state that anyone cannot be an agent if they meet the basic mental capacity requirements and age requirements. However, questions involving validity may arise if you name someone like a nurse or doctor at your hospital or long-term health facility, for example.
Can you have more than one agent?
You can have more than one agent at a time. These co-agents act together to make medical decisions on your behalf. You can also name successor agents who will take on the agent role if the first agent you have named is unable or unwilling to serve as your medical power of attorney.
Relevant Law: Colo Rev. Stat. Section 15-14-711
Step 2: Specify what healthcare decisions your agent can make
You can set out which decisions you would like your agent to make as part of your medical power of attorney form. However, Colorado law also allows you to communicate your wishes to your agent outside of the form, as well. You can even verbally tell your agent your wishes.
Can you limit your agent’s powers?
Yes. Your medical power of attorney can be as broad or as specific as you would like. That means that you if you want to put in any limitations, you can do that.
What is your agent legally unable to do?
You cannot allow an agent to make certain decisions for you if you are pregnant in Colorado.
When can your agent start making decisions for you?
Your medical power of attorney takes effect immediately unless you make it a “springing” power of attorney. A springing power of attorney is a type of power of attorney only effective when certain conditions are met or when some other event takes place. The most common event is that a doctor or other medical professional declares that you are medically incapable of making sound decisions related to your health.
Relevant Law: Colo Rev. Stat. Section 15-18-104
Step 3: Sign the form
Colorado law does not require that you sign the medical power of attorney form. However, a signature is often required in other states. Therefore, it is good to sign the form not to have to deal with whether the document is valid if it needs to be used outside of Colorado.
Do you need witnesses or notary signatures?
Because Colorado does not require any signatures, no witness or notary signatures are required. However, it is good to have two witnesses sign the document and have it notarized, so there is no question about the document’s validity.
Who can’t be a witness?
Because no witnesses are required, there are also no restrictions on who can and cannot be a witness. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to have a third party who has no familial relation to you be your witness.
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.
Relevant Law: Colo. Rev. Stat. Section 15-14-705
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 medical power of attorney, then the appointment will automatically terminate if you get divorced. If you have a successor agent, then that person will take over as your medical power of attorney. If no successor agent is named, then the Medical Power of Attorney document will no longer be effective.
Relevant Law: Colo. Rev. Stat. Section 15-14-710