A Minnesota (MN) medical power of attorney is a legal document that gives you (the “principal”) the power to nominate someone else to make critical decisions about your health and treatment in case you cannot do so yourself due to incapacity.
This form safeguards your medical wishes, entrusting someone you know well to act as your health care proxy (also known as “representative” or “agent”).
A Minnesota medical power of attorney is also known as:
- Health Care Directive
- Health Care Power of Attorney
- Power of Attorney for Health Care
During a difficult time, having the following documents in addition to your medical power of attorney can help your loved ones have peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be carried out.
- Living Will: This legal document allows a competent adult to make known their medical preferences or instructions regarding life-sustaining health care before becoming incapacitated. It’s commonly used to express your intentions regarding end-of-life treatment such as resuscitation and organ donation.
- Minnesota (Financial) Power of Attorney: This document allows a third party to make critical financial decisions on your behalf (e.g., buying or selling items, cashing checks, collecting debts, filing a lawsuit, or managing business decisions).
How to Fill in a Medical Power of Attorney in Minnesota
Completing a Minnesota medical power of attorney form takes only a few minutes.
Step 1: Choose an agent
Who should you choose as an agent?
When choosing a health care agent, consider selecting someone who understands your beliefs, values, and wishes regarding medical care (especially end-of-life care).
According to the law, the agent must “act in good faith” which means they must always make decisions in your best interest while evaluating your overall health, prognosis, and your known values.
Additionally, your health care agent must be someone who is 18 years of age or older.
Relevant law: 145C.01
Who can’t be your agent?
Your agent can’t be:
- a health care provider attending to the principal,
- or an employee of a health care provider attending to the principal’s care, unless that person is related by blood, marriage, registered domestic partnership, or adoption.
Relevant law: 145C.03
Can you have more than one agent?
Yes. You can have an alternative agent who can act as your representative if the primary agent is unable or unwilling to act on your behalf, or if you revoke consent for the primary agent.
Relevant law: 145C.05
Step 2: Specify what healthcare decisions your agent can make
By law, the agent must carry out your expressed desires for treatment, including the withholding of treatment, and are always required to act in your best interest.
Can you limit your agent’s powers?
Yes. You can limit the scope of the decisions your agent can make on your behalf by clearly stating the limitations in the medical power of attorney document.
Relevant law: 145C.01
What is your agent legally unable to do?
Your agent cannot condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia.
Relevant law: 145C.14
When can your agent start making decisions for you?
The health care directive becomes effective when it’s signed, verified, and when an attending physician deems you unable to make decisions about your own health care.
If you recover your decision-making capability based on your physician’s assessment, the medical power of attorney is no longer in effect.
Relevant law: 145C.06
Step 3: Sign the form
Do you need witness or notary signatures?
Yes, state law requires you to either sign the form in the presence of a notary public or to have two witnesses.
Relevant law: 145C.16
Who can’t be a witness?
Witnesses must be:
- 18 years old,
- not a named agent or alternate agent,
- not one of your health care providers
- or an employee of one of your health care providers giving you direct care.
Relevant law: 145C.16
How long is your Minnesota medical power of attorney effective?
Your Minnesota medical power of attorney remains effective once it’s signed and until you revoke it or, in the opinion of your doctor, are able to make your own decisions.
How to Revoke a Minnesota Medical Power of Attorney
To revoke a medical power of attorney, you must have the capacity to make your own decisions and revoke in writing. You may also verbally revoke the directive in front of two witnesses, who do not need to be there at the same time.
Furthermore, your existing medical power of attorney will be revoked if you create a new one.
Relevant law: 145C.09