Massachusetts Health Care Proxy (Medical POA)
The Massachusetts Health Care Proxy (Medical Power of Attorney) is a document that allows any competent Massachusetts resident to assert their right, as per the Health Care Proxies law, to appoint a health care agent that will make decisions regarding the person’s care in the event they no longer can themselves. Considering the substantial decision-making powers the form bestows to an agent in the event of the principal’s incapacity, the law stipulates a number of conditions that must be met in order for the form to be put into effect. It is strongly recommended that before signing the proxy, both the principal and agent take the time to understand any relevant legal requirements, limitations, and restrictions.
State Laws & Signing Requirements
State Laws: Health Care Proxies (Ch. 201D)
Signing Requirements (Chapter 201D, Section 2): Must be signed by the principal in the presence of two (2) adult witnesses, who must also sign the proxy.
Additional Information: Before signing the proxy alongside the agent, the principal should make sure their agent has a thorough understanding of the duties and responsibilities required of them per Mass. Section 5, Chapter 201D, as well as important information in how they can use the proxy, which includes:
- The agent is required to make decisions in line with the principal’s wishes. In the case that the principal did not strictly outline their wishes for a certain topic, the agent needs to make a decision that they believe would be what the principal would want.
- By signing the form, the agent will have the right to receive any and all medical information as if they were the principal themselves.
- IMPORTANT: If the principal signed a durable POA with another agent, the agent named in the health care proxy overrides the say of the agent acting in the durable POA, as well as all other parties, unless a court order mandates that the proxy be overruled.
- Healthcare providers are required, by law, to take what the agent says as though it was the principal saying it themselves.