Understanding what medical forms require notarization can save you time and reduce your stress. Whether you or a loved one spends significant time in a hospital, having your paperwork prepared prevents complications and confusion.
Four medical procedure forms usually require a notarization from experts like these, as they involve legalities and sensitive information.
Power of attorney
A medical power of attorney form usually requires notarization. These forms give a person or organization the legal right to act on behalf of someone else. For example, when a power of attorney involves medical procedures, the named person can make health care decisions if the loved one is incapacitated.
To make the power of attorney legal, a notary must see the principal and agent sign the form. The notary verifies that the signatures belong to the correct people and that they are signing without coercion.
A health proxy is similar to a power of attorney but with limitations. Health proxy forms allow a person to decide for a patient if they cannot make decisions independently. Often, the laws require that a health proxy can only be the next of kin like an adult sibling, spouse, adult children, parents, or adult grandchildren.
If a health proxy is needed, physicians must conform to the will of that assigned health proxy. Physicians don’t have the jurisdiction to make major medical decisions without familial intervention, so elderly adults should consider having a family member notarize a health proxy form. The person should be of sound mind to make life-changing medical decisions.
Office supply stores usually carry generic health proxy forms. You complete it with your loved one, then have it notarized. Keep the notarized form in a safe place, like a bank deposit box, where you can access the document when needed.
A living will works in tandem with the health proxy, where a family member advises the medical staff on decisions if a loved one is incapacitated. Often, older adults create a living will before a health proxy, but families can use the two documents together.
These living will forms are available online and in office-supply stores. After securing a living will form, families should confer and make decisions together, then add the appointed representative to the living will in the case of judgment-compromising emergencies. Once completed, these living will statements give health care workers directives about extraordinary circumstances.
Elderly adults should sign their living wills with notaries witnessing the event in person. Once you’ve signed the living will with your loved one, store it in a safe location.
A DNR (Do not resuscitate) order tells doctors not to perform CPR if you stop breathing during a medical procedure or your condition progresses due to terminal disease. As this legal form involves life and death, it requires formal notarization. Discuss this form with loved ones before major medical procedures or if a loved one has a potentially debilitating medical problem.
Rather than waiting until the last minute to take care of notarized medical forms, talk to your family members and address sensitive issues before problems arise. Remember, preparation reduces stress and anxiety in highly stressful times.