A North Dakota (ND) Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) allows you to designate someone who makes important medical decisions for you when you cannot make those decisions yourself.
In ND, this legal document is part of a larger Health Care Directive that allows you to make various decisions regarding your care.
Laws: Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care North Dakota Code Chapter 23-06.5-01-19 governs Medical Power of Attorney in North Dakota.
In addition to your MPOA form, consider creating the following related documents.
- Living Will: This document designates whether you want to receive care at the end of life. You may choose to withhold care or to use as many life-saving measures as possible.
- ND (Financial) Power of Attorney: This document allows you to designate an agent who can make decisions about your financial matters when you’re unable to do so.
How to Fill in a Medical Power of Attorney in North Dakota
Step 1: Choose an agent
Who should you choose as an agent?
Your agent must be an adult of sound mind who will be able to carry out the responsibilities of deciding what sort of healthcare you should receive.
In North Dakota, the individual you choose will not officially become your agent until he or she accepts the responsibility in writing. The agent may also withdraw their consent in writing up until the time the principal becomes incapacitated.
Relevant law: North Dakota Code 23-06.5-06
Who can’t be your agent?
Anyone who has a conflict of interest, such as someone who could profit from your death or incapacity, should not be your agent.
Relevant law: North Dakota Code 23-06.5-04
Can you have more than one agent?
You can choose multiple individuals to act as alternate agents in the event that your main agent isn’t able to serve for any reason.
Relevant law: North Dakota Code 23-06.5-05.1
Step 2: Specify what healthcare decisions your agent can make
Can you limit your agent’s powers?
Yes. When filling out your Medical Power of Attorney, you have an opportunity to choose certain kinds of care and/or situations where you want to limit your agent’s powers.
You may also decide that you only want your agent to be able to act in certain limited circumstances.
What is your agent legally unable to do?
There are some things that your agent will not be able to do based on law or circumstance.
Your healthcare providers do not have to act in any way that compromises their own morals, although there are certain limitations based on law. For instance, providers have a duty to see that health care continues to be provided to a pregnant principal unless the provided health care will unreasonably physically harm the principal or harm the child’s chance at life.
Relevant law: North Dakota Code 23-06.5-09
When can your agent start making decisions for you?
Your agent will not start making decisions for you until a physician decides that you can no longer do so yourself.
Relevant law: North Dakota Code 23-06.5-17
Step 3: Sign the form
Do you need a witness or notary signatures?
Your Medical Power of Attorney will not be valid in North Dakota unless it’s signed by:
- at least two witnesses (who both verify that you were of sound mind when you signed the document and that you signed freely and voluntarily), or
- a notary public
Relevant law: North Dakota Code 23-06.5-17
Who can’t be a witness?
There are several people who are not allowed to act as a notary or witness to your Medical Power of Attorney:
- your spouse
- your agent
- anyone related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption
- anyone who will inherit at least part of your estate
- anyone who, at the time of signing, has a claim against your estate
How long is your Medical Power of Attorney effective in North Dakota?
Your Medical Power of Attorney is good until you die, it’s revoked, or a court determines that it’s no longer valid.
Relevant law: North Dakota Code 23-06.5-07
How to Revoke a North Dakota Medical Power of Attorney
You can revoke a medical power of attorney in North Dakota by notifying either your agent or your long-term healthcare provider that you’re revoking your MPOA. You can do this orally, in writing, or in any other way that shows that you’re revoking it.
You can also revoke a current form by creating a new one.
Furthermore, if the spouse is the principal’s agent and the two get divorced, the spouse is automatically removed as your agent.