Brooklyn Healthcare Proxy Lawyers Ensure the Assistance You Need
Trustworthy guidance in New York advance directive planning
An effective estate plan should anticipate all potentialities. If you’ve made a living will, you’ve expressed your wishes for provision or withholding of certain types of medical treatment in extreme situations. But a living will cannot cover every circumstance in which you might be incapacitated and in need of medical assistance. Adding a healthcare proxy to your estate plan is a prudent step that gives directions for responding to any and all exigent circumstances. A Brooklyn healthcare proxy lawyer at Goldberg Sager & Associates can explain the role of a healthcare proxy and help you craft a document that meets your needs.
What is a healthcare proxy and why is it important?
A healthcare proxy, also known as an agent, is a trusted person to whom you give the authority to make medical decisions in your behalf if you should become incapacitated and need medical assistance. A proxy designation is a vital part of any estate plan, since incapacity can strike anyone at any time. While you are incapacitated, medical professionals might disagree about the best course of treatment, but someone will have to make a decision. By selecting a healthcare proxy, you ensure that a responsible person who has your best interests in mind will decide based on your expressed wishes.
What is the difference between a healthcare proxy and a living will?
A living will is a document that expresses your preferences for doctors giving or withholding medical treatment in the event you are suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or have entered a persistent vegetative state. You list treatments that you would accept and those you would rule out. A healthcare proxy is a document that transfers decision-making authority to another person whom you trust to make medical decisions while you are unable to do so. Your living will attorney can draft a healthcare proxy to provide additional safeguards.
Choosing a healthcare proxy or agent
The person you select to serve as your proxy should be someone who:
- Is at least 18 years of age
- Can be trusted to make mature, logical decisions
- Has values compatible with your own
- Knows you well and respects your opinions
- Will likely be available to take on the responsibility when needed
You might also consider naming an alternate proxy, in case your primary proxy is unavailable during a medical emergency.
What kind of decisions will a healthcare proxy make?
Medical and surgical procedures often involve risks that must be weighed against the potential benefits. Medical professionals sometime disagree about what drugs to administer, what surgical procedures are called for and whether it’s best to wait before committing to the next stage of treatment. Someone must make the decisions on the course of action to be taken. In addition, your agent might decide which doctors to entrust with care and where you should receive treatment.
Updating a healthcare proxy
It is important to review every element of your estate plan periodically. You may need to update your healthcare proxy occasionally to make sure it reflects your current circumstances. As you age and your health changes, you might form different opinions about medical treatment. You might also want to update instructions based on changes in your religious beliefs or personal philosophy. Finally, there may be altered circumstances that limit your proxy’s availability or draw into question his or her judgment.
Contact our knowledgeable Brooklyn lawyers for a healthcare proxy consultation
For more than 25 years, the estate planning attorneys at Goldberg Sager & Associates in Brooklyn, New York have assisted clients with advance medical directives, such as living wills and healthcare proxies. Call us at 718-514-9516 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.