What is a Health Care Proxy and Why You Need One in New York

As difficult and emotionally taxing as it might be to imagine, there may come a time when you or your parent is not able to manage major life decisions. For example, if your parents become incapacitated, who will make their medical decisions? It is comforting to know that there are some legal documents that you and your parent or loved ones can have drafted to prepare for this time. You can help your parent or loved ones legally appoint trusted people to speak and make decisions for them.

A health care proxy in New York allows your parent to appoint someone else to act as their agent for medical decisions. And it will ensure that their medical treatment instructions and directions are carried out. Keep in mind that it’s especially crucial to have a health care proxy in New York if you and your family might disagree about treatment.

What’s a Health Care Proxy?

A health care proxy, sometimes also called a Health Care Surrogate or Agent, is a legal document that allows a person to appoint another individual (the agent) as their health care agent in order to make healthcare decisions on their behalf. In Queens, New York, many people choose to appoint a trusted friend or family member, and this individual makes crucial decisions about health care if someone loses their ability to make these decisions on their own.

When you draft a health care proxy, you will be able to make healthcare decisions, provided you’re still competent to do so. And the health care proxy authorizes your physician, doctor, or other healthcare providers to share sensitive and confidential medical information, such as prescription information, with your health care agent, if that is what you want.

Your health care proxy will help make sure doctors or healthcare providers follow any wishes and preferences you have stated in the Living Will section of your Advance Healthcare Directive. Remember that your Living Will is the document where you will mention your health care proxy designation as well as any general desires and preferences for healthcare intervention in advance.  

Why Should You Have a Health Care Proxy in New York?

Choosing a health care proxy is an important component of your estate planning. This is because being prepared and ready for the unexpected will give you peace of mind since you will be able to trust that your family or friend will have clear direction regarding your wishes. 

Health care proxies in New York allow someone you trust to make crucial decisions about your healthcare. In contrast, without a health care proxy, your children or loved ones cannot view your medical records and documents or request a specific type of medical treatment for you.

Your health care proxy also overrides what other members of your family may want. If there is any disagreement between relatives, healthcare providers in New York know to follow the proxy rather than what other individuals want.

When a Health Care Proxy goes into Effect

The best part is that a health care agent doesn’t step in to make your medical decisions until you are unable to make these decisions on your own. However, you don’t need to be terminally ill for your health care proxy to be effective.

For instance, if you’ve a stroke, heart attack, car accident, or some other type of incident from which you’ll recover, your health care proxy can speak and make decisions on your behalf during your medical treatment and recovery.

Your proxy agent will have the flexibility to easily access your medical documents and make most medical treatment decisions during the time. Also, you can limit their power by specifically stating restrictions in your health care proxy document.

Examples of Situations When You May Need a Health Care Proxy

While many people in New York only consider health care proxies when they are weak and elderly or have some terminal illness, anyone can have a health care proxy. This is because you never know when a tragic and unforeseen accident could leave you incapacitated or hurt and needing medical care.

Here are some other situations that usually prompt the naming of a health care proxy in New York:

  • Being diagnosed with a terminal or serious illness, such as cancer
  • Reaching a specific age where illnesses might be more prevalent
  • Drafting, editing, or modifying your will and various other advance directive documents

What can a Health Care Proxy do?

Starting and Stopping Medical Treatment

Health care proxies in New York make key decisions, like starting and stopping medical treatments and medical interventions.  

Finding Long-Term Medical Care

If you require long-term or permanent medical care because of being incapacitated, then your health care proxy will have to find an appropriate place, such as a senior living facility, for you. This may be upon your release from a hospital. 

Choosing to End or Continue Life Support

In many cases, this is usually the most difficult and challenging part of being a proxy. Note that deciding to end life support or stop severe measures or interventions can be incredibly complex and intense. You will likely have added certain provisions and stipulations regarding how much medical intervention you prefer before ending support. Also, the more instructions you give, the better.

Hire a New York Estate Planning and Living Will Lawyer

When you appoint a health care proxy agent, you’ve the right to give that individual as little or as much authority as you want. For example, you may provide specific instructions and directives or leave judgment in their hands related to specific scenarios.

Doctors, healthcare providers, and other medical staff in New York must follow your proxy agent’s directions and instructions as if they were your own. This is why you should make sure that you trust this individual to act as an advocate on your behalf during tough times. Together with a living will, note that your health care proxy agent can make key decisions that are in your best interest.

You hope it will never happen, but if it does, don’t you want to be fully prepared? If you want to take the next step in your Estate Planning and designate a health care proxy, please contact our lawyers in Queens, New York. They specialize in Wills, Health Care Proxies, and Trusts in Queens, New York. Simply gives us a call, and we will set you up with an attorney that specializes in the service you are looking for so that you can discuss estate planning, living will, health care proxy, and power of attorney to make sure your family and financial and legal matters are handled properly.

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