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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

Is your spouse automatically your heath care agent?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2022 | Estate Planning

Few things are more personal than your health care. After all, you have deeply held beliefs about medicine and medical treatments. You may also have an illness or injury you prefer to keep discreet. Still, the day may come when you are physically or mentally incapable of making your own medical decisions.

You can use your advance health care directive to name a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. If you have a husband or wife, though, you may believe having a health care agent is not necessary. The opposite is true.

Your spouse cannot automatically make your medical decisions

If you are having a health care crisis, doctors may need to act quickly to save your life or even to bring you back to life. While your doctor may ask your family members about the care you want to receive, he or she probably has no duty to comply with their wishes.

Even worse, your relatives may disagree about your care. This may set up a nightmare scenario where your family members fight about your future in open court.

Your spouse can be your official health care agent

To remove all doubts about your wishes, you should discuss what you want and do not want with your husband or wife. You may also want to officially designate your spouse to be your health care agent. If you go this route, your spouse should make medical decisions according to your wishes, religious beliefs and moral convictions.

According to the New York State Office of the Attorney General, two doctors must confirm your incapacitation before your heath care proxy may make your medical decisions. Ultimately, if you want your spouse to have control over your medical care, naming him or her as your health care proxy is probably the right thing to do.


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