Health Care Proxy Attorneys Providing Compassionate Guidance in Cape Cod and the Surrounding Areas
A Health Care Proxy is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone else to make your health and medical care decisions for you. In this case, your agent or proxy has the authority to express your wishes when you are either temporarily or permanently incapacitated to make treatment decisions.
You can also choose to give your proxy permission to access your health records and other information as pre-defined in the agreement. You can place restrictions on what your proxy can do or the information he or she can have access to, and you can also assign a backup proxy in case your original proxy is unable to fulfill his or her duties for any reason. You may also choose to not name any specific person as your proxy, but in that case, having a living will to advise your family about your wishes and preferences is recommended.
Why Do I Need a Health Care Proxy?
A health care proxy can make medical decisions for you in the event you are deemed incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. That person will be fully informed of your wishes and treatment preferences and will have the authority to communicate those preferences to the medical care providers.
You need a health care proxy in the event you become temporarily incapacitated, or permanently incapacitated and unable to make decisions. A proxy will not spring into action until a physician has determined you can no longer speak for yourself for physical or mental reasons. You may choose a family member or a friend as your proxy, as long as you trust that person to honor your wishes. If you don’t appoint a health care proxy, there are state laws that determine who will make decisions on your behalf. Many people are not comfortable with the idea of allowing the state to determine who will speak on their behalf in case of incapacitation, so they choose to have a properly drafted health care proxy agreement instead.
What Information Should I Share With My Health Care Proxy?
Your agent or proxy can have as much or as little access to your information as you wish. However, you many want to share some key aspects, such as your personal attitudes towards health, illness, death, and dying. You may also want to share your feelings and thoughts about artificial life-support, comfort care, and medical treatments you may need in case of unconsciousness. Additionally, you can share your religious beliefs and preferences about health care providers, caregivers, and health care institutions.
If your preferences change, you can update your health care proxy document and should communicate with the person chosen to represent you to ensure he or she is aware of your new preferences and will enforce them in case you are unable to. Your health care proxy can be updated at any time and as often as you wish.
How Can I Obtain a Health Care Proxy
There are many resources online where you can download a health care proxy form. You can also visit the Boyd & Boyd website and download your form at no cost. You do not need an attorney in order to write a health care proxy, but if you are planning to include this document as a part of your future care plans, seeking advice from a qualified attorney might be recommended. This is especially true if you anticipate the need to appoint a person to make financial decisions for you in connection with your medical care.
In some states, that power is considered part of your health care proxy, but in other states, the law may vary. An attorney will be better equipped to advise you on whether you need additional documents such as a power of attorney, granting permission for someone to represent you in other matters such as making decisions regarding property, finances and non-medical matters. In other words, a person appointed as a health care proxy has the authority to make medical treatment decisions for you, whereas someone appointed as a power of attorney has the authority to pay for your medical care and handle pre-determined estate and financial matters on your behalf.
If you would like to get advice on documents and steps you need to plan for your future care, feel free to call The Law Offices of Boyd & Boyd at (508) 775-7800 to request a free initial estate planning consultation with one of our attorneys. We are here to help.