Health Care Proxy

Bronx Health Care Proxy Lawyer Helping Individuals and Families

Your life can change in a moment. Whether it’s an unexpected disease, an illness, or an abrupt accident that seriously injures you, you could become incapacitated and no longer able to make competent choices about your medical treatment. A Bronx health care proxy attorney can help.

The unexpected can happen to anyone. Creating a health care proxy is a wise move that can give you some peace about the future. Many clients choose to create a health care proxy while they’re also creating a trust, a living will, or a last will and testament.

A health care proxy must be accurately and precisely completed in order to be legally valid. At the Law Offices of Thomas J. Lavin, a health care proxy attorney can assist you with the creation of a health care proxy and other key estate planning documents.

Who Should Be Named as Your Health Care Agent?

Our goal at the Law Offices of Thomas J. Lavin is to make sure that our clients’ wishes are honored and that their instructions are followed. You can’t know the future, but with our help, you can be ready for whatever it brings.

The New York Health Care Proxy Law allows you to appoint a trusted individual (age 18 or above), including a close friend or family member, to be your agent. Why should you name someone as your health care agent? Naming an agent gives you control of your medical care by:

  1. giving your agent authority to make the health care decisions you would have made
  2. letting you choose the person you believe will make the right decisions
  3. letting you choose one person to avoid conflict among loved ones

You may also appoint an alternate or secondary health care agent to make decisions if your first choice cannot make the decisions for you.

Are There Restrictions on Who May Be a Health Care Agent?

If you choose a doctor as your health care agent, that doctor will have to choose between acting as your agent or as your attending physician because New York law prevents a doctor from performing both roles at the same time.

For your own protection, if you’re a resident or a patient at a nursing home, hospital, or mental health facility, there are restrictions about naming anyone employed at that facility as your health care agent. If it’s needed, your attorney can explain the restrictions.

Your agent must follow your instructions, so naming your health care agent helps you ensure that your medical providers follow your own wishes. Hospitals, doctors, and other medical providers must follow your agent’s decisions as if they were your own.

You may give your health care agent as much or as little discretion as you like. Your agent may make all of your health care decisions or only certain decisions. Your agent starts making decisions for you when your doctor determines that you’re unable to make decisions for yourself.

What Should You Discuss with Your Health Care Agent?

When you choose to entrust someone as your health care agent, choose someone who understands what medical care you will and will not want. You must choose someone you trust completely. If you’re unsure about whom to choose, discuss the matter with your Bronx personal injury attorney.

Before you name anyone as your health care agent, make sure that person is willing to take those responsibilities and fully understands them. Be sure to give your agent a signed copy of the document. Agents can’t be sued for medical decisions made in good faith.

Have a frank and open discussion with whomever you designate as your health care agent about what medical treatments you would want or not want in different situations, such as:

  1. Would you want life support initiated, continued, or removed if you’re in a permanent coma?
  2. Would you want treatment initiated, continued, or removed if you have a terminal illness?
  3. Would you want artificial nutrition and hydration initiated, withheld, continued, or withdrawn, and under which conditions?

When you create a health care proxy, you’ll retain your right to amend the document if changes are needed. If your spouse is your health care agent and you divorce or legally separate, a former spouse can no longer be your agent unless you specifically state otherwise.

What If You’re Young and Healthy?

It’s a dangerous world. Naming your health care agent now is a wise decision. Even if you’re not terminally ill or elderly, you could become temporarily unconscious or incapacitated for a number of reasons. When you’re capable again, your agent will no longer be authorized to act.

New York health care providers must give your agent the same information that would be given to you and honor your agent’s choices as if they were yours. If a provider or a facility objects to any of your choices, the facility must tell you or your agent before admitting or treating you.

Should Your Child Have a Health Care Proxy?

It can also be important to have a health care proxy for your minor child or children, as there may be circumstances where guardians or parents may not be able to make choices for a minor child.

For example, should a parent leave a child in someone else’s care, that parent potentially could be unavailable if an emergency happens. A health care proxy for a minor child could also become important if the parents become incapacitated because of something like a traffic crash.

Unexpected events will happen, but you and your family can be prepared. At the Law Offices of Thomas J. Lavin, our lawyers routinely assist clients with living wills, health care proxy forms, and a full range of estate planning services.

To Get Started or to Learn More

A Bronx health care proxy attorney at the Law Offices of Thomas J. Lavin will protect you, your family, and your interests with planning and legal documents that express your needs and wishes precisely and unequivocally.

The Law Offices of Thomas J. Lavin are located in the Bronx at 2980 Bruckner Boulevard and at 3561 East Tremont Avenue.

To create a health care proxy, to begin the estate planning process, or to learn more, call the Law Offices of Thomas J. Lavin at 718-306-9162 – or fill out the contact form on this website – and schedule a free, no-obligation meeting to discuss your planning questions and concerns.