As an Elder Law attorney for over 25 years I have recently been getting more and more questions about Health Care Proxys. Below are some answers as well as a link to a Free Sample Draft so my readers can see what it’s all about:
What is a Health Care Proxy?
A Health Care Proxy is someone you appoint to make health related decisions for you, in the event you can not.
Who decides that I’m not able to make my own healthcare decisions?
Your attending physician will decide whether you lack the capacity to make health care decisions. The decision is made in writing. A second doctor also must be consulted in the case of decisions to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment. You will be given notice of these decisions if there is any indication that you can understand it. If you object to this decision or to a decision made by your agent, your objection or decision will prevail unless a court determines that you are unable to make health care decisions.
What if I recover the ability to make my own healthcare decisions?
Your doctor is required to decide whether you can make your own health care decisions and confirm it in writing each time your doctor plans on acting on your agent’s health care decisions. If you have recovered the ability to make your own decisions, your agent will not be able to make any more decision for your unless you again lose the abilities to make them.
How do I complete a Healthcare Proxy?
In New York State, laws set forth the requirements for completing a health care proxy. You must be at least 18 years old and have the capacity to make your own decisions at the time you complete the proxy.
You must state your name and the name of the person you want to act as your agent, and state that your want the agent to have the authority to make health care decisions for you. You also must sign and date your health care proxy in the presence of two adult witnesses who are not names as your agent and have the witnesses sign the proxy. Please note that there are also special rules for the execution of a proxy by residents of psychiatric facilities.
Please note that you do not need to have a lawyer draft your health care proxy, however, you may wish to consult with a lawyer for advice about a health care proxy.
When will my Healthcare Proxy end?
You can create a proxy that lasts for a limited period of time by including in the document the dates you want the proxy to be valid. You can also revoke your proxy if you wish and you are competent to do so.
If you have appointed your husband or wife as your agent, and then you divorce or legally separate, the appointment will be revoked unless you specify that you do not wish to revoke it. You should review your proxy periodically to be sure that it continues to reflect your wishes.
Where should I keep my Proxy?
It’s best to give a copy of your proxy to your doctor as well as to the agent named in your proxy. If you revoke your proxy, be sure to notify whomever you gave a copy of the proxy. Upon entering a hospital you may give it to an administrator in charge, as your doctor, or attending physician may not be there when you arrive. Also, keep a copy with your other important documents such as a Power of Attorney and Will. All should be reviewed every couple of years.
What if I don’t want a Healthcare Proxy?
You can’t be required to execute a health care proxy as a condition of receiving health care services or insurance. Also, the lack of a health care proxy or other specific instructions does not crate any presumptions regarding your wishes about health care.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me! You can also visit this page on our website and download a FREE SAMPLE DRAFT of a health care proxy.
The Law Offices of Brian A. Raphan, P.C.
7 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001