New Mexico Medical Power of Attorney Form
A New Mexico medical power of attorney is a form that a New Mexico resident (the principal) completes so that another person (the agent) can make medical decisions on their behalf. The principal uses the form to indicate when they want the document to go into effect. It can become active as soon as signing occurs or once a physician confirms the principal’s incapacitation or death.
The principal can only sign the medical power of attorney if they are conscious and mentally healthy. In other words, they cannot complete the form if they suffer from an injury or illness that has left them unable to think for themselves. If the principal has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, such as dementia, cancer, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, they should consider filling out a medical power of attorney immediately. Having a set medical plan ensures that the principal receives the care they desire. It also prevents family members and friends from having to decide what the principal would want.
The agent can only make medical decisions for a principal if they have not already provided their wishes for treatment or care. For example, the principal can use the form to state whether or not they would like life-prolonging treatment, artificial nutrition and hydration, pain relief, and/or anatomical gifting of their tissue or organs. They can also choose a physician and include additional details on their preferred care. If these details are not included in the form, the agent must make a decision based on what the principal would want in that situation.
A principal can terminate a medical power of attorney at any time without stating a reason. However, they must sign a revocation of power of attorney to cancel the agreement officially. If the principal creates a new medical power of attorney, they do not need to revoke the previous one as it ends automatically. Common reasons for writing a new form include assigning a new agent, making changes to medical wishes, or moving to another state.
Laws: § 24-7A
Signing requirements (§ 24-7A-2): There are no signing requirements in New Mexico, although two (2) witnesses are recommended.
Additional considerations: The agent’s health care decisions need to reflect the preferences of the principal (who can leave precise instructions for the agent if they wish to do so). The agent, physician, and principal need to discuss the medical power of attorney before signing.