Arkansas Advance Care Plan (Medical POA)
An Arkansas advance care plan (power of attorney) is used for managing how one would like to be taken care of medically. It allows a trusted person (the agent) to make responsible healthcare decisions for a principal, and also provides space for listing the principal’s treatment preferences. The form becomes active once a doctor confirms that the principal cannot communicate their wishes or has passed away.
The principal must complete and sign it before they become mentally incapacitated. If the original agent is incapable of carrying out their duties, the first or second alternate agent (chosen by the principal) becomes responsible for making the decisions. While the agent can make choices about life-sustaining treatment, they cannot choose a principal’s mental health services, including decisions regarding psychosurgery, abortion, or electroconvulsive therapy.
The form gives the agent decision-making powers if the principal becomes terminally ill or otherwise unable to communicate their wishes. It can also go into effect if the principal goes into surgery and receives anesthesia (meaning they cannot speak for themselves). A medical power of attorney is often filled out as a precautionary measure if an unexpected medical emergency occurs.
Since the document is durable, it remains in effect unless the principal:
- Sets an expiration date;
- Cancels the document by completing a revocation form;
- Can make their own decisions again; and/or
- Has appointed their spouse as the agent and divorces them;
- Completes a new power of attorney.
Laws: § 20-6-101 to § 20-6-117
Signing requirements (§ 20-6-103): Notarized OR witnessed by two (2) witnesses.