There are illnesses which render a person incapable of making decisions concerning their health due to either mental incapacity or worsened state of health. These decisions might be treatment plans, mode of treatment, extent to which you might want a particular treatment to go etc. These are very delicate decisions that must be made at one point or the other. At this point when one can’t make these decisions themselves, the responsibility of making these decisions falls on the person’s power of attorney.
In New York you can appoint someone to make these decisions on your behalf. This is known as Health Care Proxy.
Health care proxy and New York health care proxy laws
- The New York health care proxy law gives a person the right to appoint a “health care agent”. Health care agent is a person named in a document known as “health care proxy” signed by a principal to bear the responsibility of making medical decisions on behalf of the principal in cases of incapacitation.
- The New York health care proxy law also makes provisions for the principal to give specific directives concerning certain medical conditions in the document. For example the principal may or may not allow any of his or her organs to be donated if such situation arises.
- Bounded by their fiduciary responsibility, your health care agent always acts in accordance with what you wish. In a situation where your wish is not known, it is the responsibility of your health care agent to make decisions they believe will be in your best interest.
- Health care practitioners and hospitals are bounded by the New York health care proxy law to always obey your agent
As the future is not certain, it is very important and advisable to include a health care proxy in your estate plan. In case of an eventuality like accident which may render a person incapable of making medical decisions, the health care agent takes over the responsibility. But if you don’t have a health care proxy in place before the occurrence of this event, it means there will be no one to be making these decisions on your behalf.
Some facts about the New York health care proxy laws
- If the principal does not limit the health care agent to certain medical conditions then the agent can make decisions whether or not you should receive treatment, what kind of treatment would be best for you, etc.
- Note that your living will in New York which is a document containing your directives in certain end-of-life conditions is different from health care proxy
- In signing a health care proxy form, the signature of the principal and two witnesses who are 18 years and above are required. Those of the agent are not required neither can he be a witness.
- In a situation where the agent is not available or is not willing to act and take responsibility of the principal, the New York health care proxy law provides an opportunity for naming an alternate or secondary agent.
- Talking about the cost of health care, the principal is responsible for all the cost and not the agent
- It is worthy to note that an agent cannot be sued for whatever result their decision brings in as much as such decisions were in your best interest.
- In a situation were by your health care agent is a doctor or a medical practitioner, he or she won’t be able to act as your physician simultaneously.
- For you to create a New York health care proxy you can get the form online. But it’s advisable to talk with your family, loved ones, and a medical professional to understand what decisions may be made for you. You need at least two witnesses to sign along with you. Having a lawyer is only for professional assistance.
In case you have questions regarding the New York health care proxy laws or you wish to sign a health care proxy document, our elder law attorneys in New York are ready to give you all the help you need. Go ahead and contact us today.