Estate Planning Isn’t Just For The Elderly

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Naming a health care proxy: what to know

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2022 | Wills & Trusts

Even if young and healthy, people should consider setting up advance care directives such as naming a health care proxy. If Illness or injury leaves them unable to make decisions for themselves, this personal representative will make medical choices for them.

Due to the responsibility that naming someone as a health care proxy gives, people should consider several factors to ensure they choose the right agents.

Do they meet the state’s requirements?

When choosing a health care proxy, the grantors should make sure the person they choose meets the requirements. According to the New York State Department of Health, only those at least 18-years-old can serve as health care proxies. Some choose family members while others select close friends, religious community members or other trusted associates.

Who cannot serve as a health care proxy?

The state puts some restrictions, in addition to age, on whom can act as a health care proxy. With few exceptions, patients and residents cannot give this decision-making authority to employees or the hospitals or nursing homes where they reside or currently receive treatment. People may choose to name a doctor as their personal representative, however, that person cannot also serve as his or her treating physician.

People may choose to name their spouses as health care proxies. Should they divorce, though, they must re-name their ex-spouses.

Will they fulfill their obligations?

According to the New York State Department of Health, a health care proxy will make important medical decisions regarding the type of care the grantor will and will not receive. When choosing a personal representative, then, they should make sure to select someone they believe will uphold their values and preferences.

Serious illnesses or injuries may unexpectedly strike, leaving people unable to speak or make choices for themselves. Having advance care directives in place may help give people peace of mind that their wishes will get followed, even if they cannot voice them for themselves.