If you should become disabled or incapacitated temporarily or on a long-term basis, a health care proxy can allow you to choose the person who will make decisions on your behalf during this difficult time. Working with an attorney who specializes in these types of legal arrangements is often the best way to determine the best way to proceed in choosing a health care proxy and drawing up the legal documents. Lesly R. Devereaux is an experienced health care proxy lawyer who can provide you with information on the basics of health care proxies in the state of New York.
Health care proxies are legal documents that allow New York residents to designate an agent who will be responsible for making decisions about health care and life-saving or life-prolonging treatments if you are incapacitated. The person who holds the health care proxy is known as the agent. New York law specifies that any competent individual who is 18 years of age or older can serve as a health care proxy agent. Additionally, some individuals who are under 18 but are married or have a child may be eligible to hold a health care proxy as well.
The person you choose to be your health care proxy agent will not have control over your day-to-day medical decisions. Instead, this individual will act on your behalf only if you are unable to do so for yourself. You may become temporarily incapacitated by an auto accident, a head injury, a stroke or another medical emergency. Permanent mental disability can sometimes be caused by head injuries, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.
Your physician will be responsible for determining whether you are capable of making your own health care decisions. If you are deemed to lack the mental capacity to decide for yourself regarding your treatment, your agent will then act on your behalf and will communicate your wishes to the medical staff members responsible for your care.
If you become incapacitated temporarily or permanently, your agent will step in and act on your behalf. This can save valuable time in dealing with medical issues and can take some of the stress and worry out of the treatment process when emergencies occur. Discussing your wishes with your health care proxy agent is recommended to make sure that they act as you would wish when you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
You should consult with a New York health care proxy lawyer before deciding on an agent for your health care decisions. Your attorney can provide you with guidance on the process and the specific details about when your agent can act on your behalf. In most cases, you will be asked to select a primary health care proxy agent and a backup or successor agent who will serve if the primary agent is unable or unavailable to deal with these situations.
Choosing a health care proxy agent can help to prevent disputes among family members and friends about who should make decisions on your behalf when you are critically ill or incapacitated. This can reduce some of the stress and worry felt by your family during these difficult times. Additionally, you can provide your agent with clear instructions about your wishes and requests. This will eliminate confusion about what to do in these emergency situations.
Lesly R. Devereaux, PLLC is an experienced and knowledgeable New York health care proxy lawyer with a proven track record for providing outstanding services for her clients. She has received a General Practitioner Achievement Award from the Essex County Bar Association and offers a wide range of services designed to help clients navigate changes in their lives. To learn more or to request a consultation with Lesly, schedule an appointment here or email her at LD@leslylaw.com.