Suffolk County Healthcare Proxy Lawyer Helping Clients Write or Update Their Healthcare Proxy Documents in New York
When thinking about the topic of estate planning, most people immediately think of wills, trusts, and other tools that deal with posthumous property and asset distribution. However, certain estate planning tools can benefit you while you are still living. Learn how a healthcare proxy works in New York state, why you need one, and how a healthcare proxy attorney can help.
What Is a Healthcare Proxy?
In the state of New York, you can appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. This is done through a healthcare proxy. Your healthcare proxy acts as your agent and can be given full decision-making powers or be allowed to only make certain decisions. You can choose who can be your agent and give them unlimited powers or restrict them to specific aspects.
Your healthcare proxy can speak to doctors, authorize important treatments and take other healthcare-related actions on your behalf. Healthcare professionals are expected to follow the decisions of your proxy just as if you were making the decisions yourself. However, a healthcare proxy does not have the authority to make financial decisions or act as your power of attorney. Once you regain consciousness and are deemed capable by a physician, the powers of the healthcare proxy cease, and you can make your own decisions again.
Is a Healthcare Proxy the Same as a Living Will?
A healthcare proxy and a living will are two different documents, but both are equally important and work together to enable you to receive medical treatment in accordance with your wishes. A living will is a written record of your preferences for how you wish to be treated should you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. You may include your preferences for emergency treatment, such as whether you want CPR or blood transfusions or would rather not be placed on artificial life support machines. Many people also include their wishes for their funeral as a part of a living will rather than adding it to their last will, as the last will tends to be opened and read weeks after the funeral has already taken place.
However, a living will does not appoint any particular person to serve as your agent – that is, the role of a healthcare proxy. Your healthcare proxy has decision-making authority and can ensure that all the wishes you expressed on your living will are respected while you are incapacitated.
Who Should I Choose as My Healthcare Proxy?
Most people choose a close relative – a spouse, child, or sibling – to be their healthcare proxy. Who you choose depends on your family situation and personal preference. You may appoint a secondary healthcare proxy that can act in case your primary proxy is unwilling or unable to fulfill their role.
You may choose any adult (over the age of 18) who is comfortable with the role and understands their responsibilities. It is important to know that this person will have access to your medical records and will be in charge of talking to doctors and authorizing treatments and exams whenever you are unable to do so, so choose someone that you know and trust and explain to them what you expect them to do for you. If you change your mind later on, you can choose a new healthcare proxy at any time.
Do I Need an Attorney to Help Me Write My Healthcare Proxy?
Writing your healthcare proxy forms is one of many important steps in putting together your estate planning documents. While you do not need an attorney to write a healthcare proxy form, you may still want to consider working with one in order to also take care of other important documents everyone should have, including a living will, a last will, and a power of attorney.
It is true that nobody enjoys spending time thinking about what should happen if they become incapacitated or pass away. By working with a professional who has years of experience helping guide clients through the process of estate planning, you may find the task easier and less overwhelming and can have more peace of mind knowing that your affairs will be taken care of regardless of what tomorrow may bring.
The truth is, even if you are relatively young and healthy, taking action to write a healthcare proxy and other important documents can really make a difference and help guide your loved ones should something unexpected happen to you. Without a proxy or a living will, your loved ones will not know who should be making decisions on your behalf and what your personal preferences would have been as far as receiving medical treatment.
If it is important for you to have a way of recording your wishes for personal, cultural, and religious reasons and give a specific person the role of making decisions for you, reaching out to a healthcare proxy attorney is the best way to get all your questions answered and cross this task off your list. At the Law Office of Gina M. Pellettieri, Attorney Gina M. Pellettieri and her legal team have the knowledge and skills to help you put your affairs in order. The Law Office of Gina M. Pellettieri has assisted countless clients in Suffolk county with writing or updating their healthcare proxy forms and living wills. Call 631-250-3698 to learn more and get started.