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Saving for your retirement is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your next of kin. However, should anything happen to you, do you have a written plan outlining what happens to your finances? How about your health – will your spouse or children act according to your wishes when you are incapacitated and unable to act?
If you answered no to any of these questions, it means that you need a little guidance and a nudge in the right direction. And, it all starts with you having a power of attorney(POA). It’s a legal instrument which outlines your wishes. The document names a trustee (an individual of your choosing) as the authority figure should you be incapacitated. Often, the appointed individual will decide whether you remain hooked to the life-support machines or if you buy real estate in your place. This individual is the agent (attorney-in-fact), and you are the principal.
Since you may want to give your agent special authority over a part of your life, it means that there exist legal frameworks which allow you to fill different kinds of documents to satisfy your needs.
It’s also worth mentioning that most POA documents (letters of attorney, letter of authority, or the letter of authorization) are springing. Springing powers of attorney refer to a situation where you hand over power to an agent but, the agent only gets to act on said powers if you are incapacitated or unable to act. So, action springs from your inability. Only a few cases feature non-springing powers of attorney where the agent acts immediately after signing the documents.
Types of powers of attorney
1. South Carolina Durable Power of Attorney Laws
Being in a state where you are unable to make your own medical decisions is unimaginable. Unfortunately, it could happen to you. So, it’s only fair that you lay out your wishes and grant a trustworthy person act on them when you cannot. For this, you require the durable POA (DPOA)document stating that person X will ask the doctors to hook you up to a ventilator or not.
Before filling in your South Carolina Power of attorney form, note that the state has a legal framework used in the DPOA. The applicable rules are outlined in the code section 62-5-501, et seq. of the code laws.
The specific powers that come with the durable powers of attorney include a statement on medical procedures or medical interventions to be implemented in an attempt to extend the dying process. This will include treatment of medication to alleviate pain and to offer comfort.
Under the state laws in South Carolina, a principal gets to determine if they are fed and hydrated using tubes.
What are requirements for the DPOA?
With the burden that falls on the agent, the DPOA counts as one of the most significant documents a principal and agent sign. It is, therefore, crucial that you are careful about what makes the document legitimate. The DPOA should meet the following conditions:
It should have substantial details outlines in South Carolina’s statutory form under section §62-5-504 (D)
The document must be signed and dated
Signing should be done in the presence of at least 2 witnesses.
It should have the agent’s address and the state name; the agent must be an adult.
Note that the durable (health care) agent doesn’t have power over withholding or withdrawing life-support procedures for a pregnant principal.
Is the DPOA revocable?
Yes. Conditions for revocation include:
Presence of a written, a verbal expression, or any other act which constitutes notice to the health care provider or agent of the principal’s intention to revoke the authority of the agent
Execution of a new DPOA by the principal.
Is the healthcare POA valid from a different state?
When filling in your free power of attorney form in South Carolina, note that the document is valid if it’s in accordance with the state laws and if recorded accordingly
If an attending physician is unwilling to act according to the DPOA requirements, they should act reasonably to relocate the patient to a physician who will follow the directives or transfer them to a different physician.
Note that a doctor acting in good faith isn’t criminally, civilly, or professionally, liable.
2. South Carolina Limited POA
Should you wish to give an agent limited power over specific items in your life, get this document. It’s specific, and it’s to be acted upon only in your absence or incapacitation. You can revoke the powers granted by signing a revocation notice that’s issued to the agent and third parties acting on the principal’s directives.
3. South Carolina POA for Childcare
This document gives a non-parent temporary authority as a parent if a parent is unavailable or unable to care for the minor. The powers granted could include power over medical treatment or signing up the child for specific school activities. It’s also revocable as soon as the parent delivers a notice to the non-parent, even before the expiry of the period power was granted.
Would you like get your affairs in order by obtaining a POA? Fill out our free online power of attorney form available to all residents of Charleston, Columbia, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Rock Hill, Greenville, Summerville, Goose Creek, Sumter, Hilton Head Island or any other city of South Carolina, at no extra cost.