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New York Health Care Proxy Law

Health care proxies are legal documents that entrust someone you trust with making medical decisions on your behalf in case you are no longer capable. You can grant them as much or as little power as necessary – your agent will follow your wishes exactly. It is wise to have both a health care proxy and living will in place so your loved ones are clear about your preferences, while your agent has authority to carry them out.

The Family Health Care Decisions Act allows New Yorkers to set their medical preferences before losing the ability to communicate. The New York Health Care Proxy Law offers an easy solution: its form allows individuals to appoint a health care agent and specify how you would like your health decisions made, and also indicate whether organ or tissue donations are desired.

Without an established health care proxy in place, state laws dictate who can make medical decisions on your behalf. This could result in medical providers and loved ones making guesses as to what might be in your best interests based on their own values and beliefs – leading to additional stress for both loved ones as well as medical providers alike.

Your healthcare agent should be an adult, natural-born citizen or permanent resident, with no criminal convictions or outstanding warrants. Prior to making your selection, make sure the individual feels confident serving in this high-stress role; ensure they feel prepared. It may be prudent to appoint a backup or successor agent should their primary one not fulfill their responsibilities adequately.

Healthcare agents must respect your instructions both oral and written as well as your moral and religious convictions, according to New York’s Health Care Proxy Law. Furthermore, your agent is obliged to keep you apprised about any decisions they are making for you so as to reduce confusion or conflicts during an emergency situation. If no wishes are stated in your document then your agent will do what they feel is in your best interests.

Health care proxy documents allow you to specify when they will take effect; this may depend on your state, but typically when your doctor finds you no longer have the ability to make decisions for yourself. In case later decide to cancel it, there should also be an end date or event specified so the document can be cancelled at that point.

Regular reviews and discussions about your healthcare proxy documents with your loved ones is recommended, along with providing your agent with details on where they can find medical records and advance directives that they might need accessing easily. It is also wise to update these documents should your wishes or preferences change over time.