If part of your estate planning includes executing a durable power of attorney, you should familiarize yourself with New Jersey’s requirements. As FindLaw explains, your POA likely will grant someone else, called your attorney in fact, the right to make health care and end-of-life decisions for you in the event you become too ill, injured or incapacitated to make them for yourself.
Your POA can be as detailed as you wish and cover your desire for – or the withholding of – medical care, interventions, treatments and procedures including the following:
- Pain alleviation medications, even if they enhance the likelihood of your death
- Life-sustaining procedures and therapies, such as mechanical ventilation, feeding tubes, intravenous hydration, etc.
- Resuscitation procedures, such as CPR, mechanical defibrillation or other Code Blue procedures
- Care provided by a specific physician or medical facility
It goes without saying that you must be a mentally competent adult in order to sign a POA. In addition to your signature, New Jersey law requires your POA to contain the following:
- A directive that becomes valid only when a physician confirms your lack of decision-making ability
- The date you execute it
- The signature of two witnesses or notary public who not only see you sign but also can attest to your mental competency and that you were free from the duress of others at the time you signed it
Keep in mind, however, that if you executed a POA while residing in another state or even a foreign country, New Jersey deems it legal here if it meets all the requirements of the other jurisdiction.
Once executed, you can revoke your POA either orally or in writing, by executing a superseding POA or by obtaining a divorce if you named your spouse as your attorney in fact.