A South Dakota medical power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person (the “principal”) to designate an individual to act as their representative when making healthcare-related decisions should the principal become incapacitated.
Laws: Chapter 59-7 of the South Dakota Codified Laws governs medical powers of attorney in South Dakota.
If you’re seeking a medical power of attorney, these related documents might be of use to you as well:
- Living Will: This document notes your preferences regarding the medical treatment you would like to receive (or refuse) should your condition become terminal and you’re unable to participate in the decision-making process.
- South Dakota (Financial) Power of Attorney: This document allows the principal to select someone to oversee their financial affairs, including any money or property that the principal may own.
How to Fill in a Medical Power of Attorney in South Dakota
Title 59 of the South Dakota Codified Laws provides the necessary guidance for creating a medical power of attorney in South Dakota.
Step 1: Choose an Agent
Who should you choose as an agent?
A principal may select any trusted adult to be their agent.
The agent will have the power to make any decisions regarding your healthcare that are not excluded from the medical power of attorney form. This includes requesting or refusing treatment. The agent will also have access to all of the medical records of the principal.
Who Can’t Be Your Agent?
The South Dakota Codified Laws do not provide any restrictions for who can serve as the principal’s agent.
Can you have more than one agent?
Yes, you have the option to select an alternative agent to act as your agent should the original agent be unwilling or unable to serve as your representative.
Relevant Law: Section 59-7-2.1
Step 2: Specify What Healthcare Decisions Your Agent Can Make
Can you limit your agent’s powers?
Yes, you can limit your agent’s powers in the medical power of attorney form. Your agent may not make any decisions that are against your wishes as outlined in a medical power of attorney or living will.
The instructions in a living will supersede any decisions that the agent may choose to make on behalf of the principal.
Relevant Law: Section 59-7-2.5
What is your agent legally unable to do?
In South Dakota, an agent may not refuse or withdraw artificial hydration or artificial nutrition being given to provide comfort to the principal.
Additionally, life-sustaining treatment must be provided for pregnant women unless the principal’s physician certifies that doing so would not promote the development and birth of the unborn child or would be physically harmful to the mother.
When can your agent start making decisions for you?
The agent may make decisions on your behalf once a physician determines that the principal lacks the capacity to make healthcare decisions for themselves.
Relevant Law: Section 59-7-2.6
Step 3: Sign the Form
Do you need witness or notary signatures?
Yes, the medical power of attorney must be signed by two adult witnesses or a notary public.
Relevant Law: Section 59-7-2.1
Who Can’t Be a Witness?
The witness for a South Dakota medical power of attorney cannot be a minor.
How Long Is Your South Dakota Medical Power of Attorney Effective?
In South Dakota, a medical power of attorney is effective until the:
- Death of the principal
- Incapacitation of the agent
- Principal revokes the agent’s powers
Relevant Law: Section 59-7-1
How to Revoke a South Dakota Medical Power of Attorney
A principal may revoke the agent’s authority by providing a revocation of power of attorney notice to all relevant parties (including the agent and healthcare provider) that the medical power of attorney has been terminated.
Relevant Law: Section 59-7-2