(a) A principal, pursuant to a health care power of attorney, may grant to the health care agent full power and authority to make health care decisions to the same extent that the principal could make those decisions for himself or herself if he or she had capacity to make and communicate health care decisions, including without limitation, the power to authorize withholding or discontinuing life-prolonging measures and the power to authorize the giving or withholding of mental health treatment. A health care power of attorney may also contain or incorporate by reference any lawful guidelines or directions relating to the health care of the principal as the principal deems appropriate.
(a1) A health care power of attorney may incorporate or be combined with an advance instruction for mental health treatment prepared pursuant to Part 2 of Article 3 of Chapter 122C of the General Statutes. A health care agent’s decisions about mental health treatment shall be consistent with any statements the principal has expressed in an advance instruction for mental health treatment if one so exists, and if none exists, shall be consistent with what the agent believes in good faith to be the manner in which the principal would act if the principal did not lack capacity to make or communicate health care decisions. A health care agent is not subject to criminal prosecution, civil liability, or professional disciplinary action for any action taken in good faith pursuant to an advance instruction for mental health treatment.
(b) A health care power of attorney may authorize the health care agent to exercise any and all rights the principal may have with respect to anatomical gifts, the authorization of any autopsy, and the disposition of remains; provided this authority is limited to incurring reasonable costs related to exercising these powers, and a health care power of attorney does not give the health care agent general authority over a principal’s property or financial affairs.
(c) A health care power of attorney may contain, and the authority of the health care agent shall be subject to, the specific limitations or restrictions as the principal deems appropriate.
(d) The powers and authority granted to the health care agent pursuant to a health care power of attorney shall be limited to the matters addressed in it, and, except as necessary to exercise such powers and authority relating to health care, shall not confer any power or authority with respect to the property or financial affairs of the principal.
(e) This Article shall not be construed to invalidate a power of attorney that authorizes an agent to make health care decisions for the principal, which was executed prior to October 1, 1991.
(f) A health care power of attorney does not limit any authority in Article 5 of Chapter 122C of the General Statutes either to take a person into custody or to admit, retain, or treat a person in a facility. (1991, c. 639, s. 1; 1998-198, s. 1; 1998-217, s. 53; 2007-502, s. 3.)
Terms Used In North Carolina General Statutes 32A-19
- Power of attorney: A written instrument which authorizes one person to act as another's agent or attorney. The power of attorney may be for a definite, specific act, or it may be general in nature. The terms of the written power of attorney may specify when it will expire. If not, the power of attorney usually expires when the person granting it dies. Source: OCC
- property: shall include all property, both real and personal. See North Carolina General Statutes 12-3