What Is the Function of a Healthcare Proxy?

elder in wheelchair

Understandably so, it may be difficult to comprehend a scenario in which you can no longer make life decisions for yourself. Even worse, you may not want to think about handing over this decision-making power to another party. Unfortunately, this reality may simply be out of your control. However, passing on this responsibility may be made easier by establishing a healthcare proxy alongside an advanced healthcare directive. Follow along to find out the purpose of a healthcare proxy and how one of the proficient Putnam County powers of attorney lawyers at The Law Offices of Andres D. Gil, PLLC can help you maximize its function.

What is the purpose of a healthcare proxy?

A healthcare proxy is a legal document that allows you to give another party, known as your agent, the power to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. More specifically, your agent takes on this responsibility when you no longer possess the capacity to communicate these decisions yourself. With this, your agent works closely with your medical team to ensure that your once-expressed wishes are met. Ultimately, this may prevent your family members from quarreling over “what you would have wanted.”

Alongside your healthcare proxy should be an advanced healthcare directive. This is because this legal document allows you to outline exactly how your end-of-life care should be handled, if and when the time comes. That is, your agent will reference this document when it comes to making any of the following healthcare decisions:

  • Whether or not you should be resuscitated by CPR or shocked by a defibrillator if your breathing or heartbeat stops, respectively.
  • Whether or not you should be placed on mechanical ventilation if you are unable to breathe on your own.
  • Whether or not you should receive palliative care or hospice care at the end of your life.
  • Whether or not you should receive aggressive treatments at the end of your life.

Who is allowed to serve as my agent?

Overall, the appointed agent of your healthcare proxy should be an individual whom you trust. In New York State, this individual is allowed to be a family member, close friend, business partner, or otherwise. This is so long as this individual meets the following requirements:

  • Your agent must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Your agent must have the mental capacity to comprehend the nature of this responsibility.
  • Your agent must sign and date your healthcare proxy in the presence of two adult witnesses.

With all these important decisions yet to be made, you must not wait too long to retain the services of a talented Putnam County estate planning attorney. So please call The Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC at your earliest possible convenience.

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