What is a Health Care Proxy?
A document that names a trusted individual as your proxy or agent, to express your wishes and make health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so is known as a Health Care Proxy. When you have a health care proxy in place you are ensuring your wishes will be clearly communicated in the event you are unable to communicate those wishes yourself. You do not have to be terminally ill to designate a healthcare proxy. Often, incapacitation happens suddenly and unexpectedly, so a health care proxy is like having insurance against something like a car collision or stroke. You can place restrictions on what your health care proxy can do or see, including them in your health care proxy document. Having an experienced New York health care proxy lawyer from Davidov Law Group preparing your health care proxy ensures it will be done properly.
How Can Your New York Health Care Proxy Lawyer Help?
While you are not required to have an attorney involved in preparing a health care proxy, it is generally a good idea to ensure you fully understand what is involved in a health care proxy as well as how you should choose your agent. Working with a qualified New York health care proxy lawyer ensures your document will be correctly interpreted.
At Davidov Law Group, we can comprehensively answer any questions you may have regarding your health care proxy. Planning for a disability or incapacity is something many of us overlook. While we all know we will die at some point, we often fail to realize that an illness or injury is equally likely. If you should become incapacitated, it is important that your intentions regarding your health care are clearly stated. We can help you do this with compassion and meticulous attention to detail.
What are the Powers of a Health Care Agent?
Your health care agent may only speak for you regarding your health care—not other legal issues or financial issues. Your health care agent is only allowed to make decisions for you when you are unable to make them yourself. Some of the common duties a health care agent could have include:
- Speaking to your medical team
- Reviewing your medical chart
- Asking medical questions of your doctors and getting explanations
- Discussing your treatment options
- Requesting a consultation or second opinion
- Consenting to medical tests or treatments
- Refusing medical tests or treatments
- Making life-support decisions
- Authorizing a transfer to another physician or hospital
It is important that you have an honest, in-depth conversation about your values and your beliefs with your chosen Agent so if and when the time comes, he or she can make the best possible decisions on your behalf.
Health Care Proxy vs. Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another individual a specific type of authority to make decisions on your behalf. Most powers of attorney documents are financial, but a power of attorney can give another person the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf as well. A health care proxy appoints an individual known as an Agent to have authority over your health care decisions in the event you become incapacitated. Sounds much the same, right?
A Power of Attorney is more often used to make financial decisions on your behalf while a health care proxy is, by its very definition, strictly used for health care decisions. While both titles could be held by a single individual, there are fewer gray areas when they are held by two separate people. Either document can be drafted to be as specific as you would like and can benefit from having a health care proxy lawyer from Davidov Law Group.
Common Concerns Regarding a Health Care Proxy
Many people are reluctant to have a health care proxy prepared because they feel as though they are giving up control of their own life. It is difficult to believe there may come a time when you are seriously injured or become gravely ill and are unable to make decisions regarding your own medical care. Do you know what would happen in this situation? Would your spouse, children, or other family members make these tough decisions on your behalf? Would they know your wishes regarding these decisions?
If your loved ones were required to determine whether or not you are kept alive on life-support systems, is that a decision they could make? What if your wishes regarding medical treatments change over the years—would your family members be aware of those changes? Should you set clear limits for the person you choose to be your Agent? If you do set limits on your Agent’s authority, could it make it more difficult for him or her to act in an unanticipated situation? All of these questions must be thoroughly answered before your attorney prepares a health care proxy on your behalf to ensure the document does what it is meant to do.
You might also speak with your physician and your agent to determine how important certain things are to you, such as:
- The potential cost of your health care
- Your quality of life
- Whether the wishes of your family should supersede your own wishes
- Whether your life should be prolonged through the use of machines
- Whether your wishes will be clearly communicated to family and friends before an incapacitation
Potential Issues Related to Health Care Proxy and Advance Directives
Health care proxies can have certain limitations. As an example, a person making a health care proxy may not fully recognize the consequences of certain choices they are asking their Agent to make on their behalf. Other times, the person making the health care proxy could potentially change his or her mind about a treatment choice but forget to inform family members and the Agent.
In some cases, an advance directive can be too vague, failing to indicate whether the Principal wants a particular treatment for a specific situation. The flip side of that is when a specific directive for future care becomes less than useful when a situation changes in unexpected ways. As an example, new medical treatments could be available that were not available at the time the health care proxy was written. Straightforward communication with your family and your chosen Agent can solve most of these issues before they occur.
What Does a Health Care Proxy Lawyer Do?
While you can prepare your health care proxy by using a DIY online form, this is not recommended. It is essential that your health care proxy is properly—and legally—prepared to ensure it does what it is meant to do in the event of your incapacitation. Your New York health care proxy lawyer has a deep understanding of the state-specific issues associated with a health care proxy.
Each state, including New York, has requirements that must be met for your health care proxy to be legal; the Davidov Law Group will ensure your health care proxy clearly states your wishes, making it easier for your loved ones who might find it difficult to make health care choices on your behalf. Having a health care proxy in place can also minimize disputes between family members, preserving harmony at a critical time.
How to Select the Best Health Care Lawyer for Your Future Needs
At Davidov Law Group, we have an in-house CFP that provides a depth of experience in financial matters. We offer a holistic view of planning to ensure effectiveness and our primary goal is to build strong client relationships and understand your goals prior to making any recommendations. It could be extremely beneficial to read our book, “Keeping it in Your Family—Protecting Your Family and Leaving a Lasting Legacy.” Our health care proxy lawyers can guide you through this entire process in the easiest way possible, ensuring you end up with a document that does exactly what you want it to do.
How Davidov Law Group Will Protect Your Family and Preserve Your Legacy
Our goal at Davidov Law Group is to protect your family and preserve your legacy. At our family-owned firm, we are immigrants and children of immigrants. Our parents sacrificed a lot to provide a better future for us and we believe we are living proof of the American Dream. We have more than 21 years of client service, with 2,500 families protected by our firm. We stand against one-size-fits-all planning because we know that each family has its unique goals and concerns. Contact Davidov Law Group today.