While it might be difficult or even unpleasant to consider what might happen if tragedy strikes, it is essential for your family’s financial security. Advance directives planning is concerned with what your choices would be in the event an accident or incident incapacitates you, rendering you unable to make a decision yourself.
Adults of all ages, whether young or elderly, should establish instructions for their finances and healthcare in the event they are unable to give directions at a later date. Advance directives include living wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney, and all documents that enable you to specify the type of care you would prefer to receive if you become severely incapacitated and unable to make legally actionable decisions yourself as well as how to pay for the care.
Living Wills Communicate Your Wishes While Maintaining Your Control
Through a living will, you are able to specify your preferences about end-of-life care in the event you cannot communicate your own wishes at that time.
Living wills can communicate your preferences related to but not limited to the following:
- Artificial nutrition and hydration
- Blood transfusions
- Mechanical respiration
- Antibiotic and pain medication use
When you do not have a living will in place that clearly communicates your preferences, your family may be hesitant or unwilling to discontinue life support. If you have specific wishes in this regard that you want honored, it is essential to have a living will that communicates your desires.
The New York Health Care Proxy Law Provides an Option
Through the New York Health Care Proxy Law, you are able to “appoint a competent adult to make decisions about your medical treatment in the event you lose the ability to decide for yourself”. The person that you select can be a family member, a close friend, or any other individual you choose.
The authority that you grant to your healthcare proxy can range in terms of reach and power. Your healthcare proxy can determine which treatments you consent to under specified circumstances. It can also determine whether or not your organs will be donated upon death. Most people want the proxy to be as broad as possible, but it can be limited.
When you have taken the time to establish a healthcare proxy, then hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers are obligated to follow the decisions of your proxy as though they were your own decisions. Naming a healthcare agent is important as we all encounter situations that are unexpected and you may not be able to plan for or react accordingly at the time. If your medical condition changes, your agent will be able to apply your wishes to forthcoming decisions.
A Living Will is Different from a Health Care Proxy
While you can communicate your wishes about healthcare treatment through a living will, it is effectively just a written statement about your preferences. A healthcare proxy is different in that not only are your wishes being communicated, but you are appointing a person with the legal authority to enforce your wishes by making decisions on your behalf.
Choosing a Health Care Proxy Supports Your Decision-Making Ability
If an accident or other incident makes it impossible for you to communicate your wishes, having a healthcare proxy in place provides a substitute. The creation of a health care proxy allows you to maintain control over your medical treatment by:
- Selecting one individual over the age of 18 to make decisions on your behalf
- Avoiding uncertainty and confusion when your wishes have not been communicated
- Making sure that your wishes are carried out as you prefer
- Providing your agent the power to stop treatment if and when they decide what you would prefer and would be in your best interests given the circumstances
You Determine the Power of Your Proxies
Whatever power you are assigning to your proxy/agent through an advance directive is controlled by your preference. You determine what powers your proxy is assigned through your advance directive. For your proxy to be able to make certain decisions about your care, your health care proxy must elaborate upon what your wishes are in a given situation. The NYS health care proxy form allows you to enter this kind of information, and your Long Island advance directives attorney ensures they are legally enforceable.
Designate a Decision-Maker through a Durable General Power-of-Attorney
Through the establishment of a durable power-of-attorney, you are able to choose an individual to provide the legal power to make decisions about your property or specific assets. It is important that your durable power of attorney document is carefully drafted and solely accomplishes what you intend it to, and a Long Island advance directives attorney from Davidow, Davidow, Siegel & Stern can help with the entire process.
The power to dispose of your real or personal property remains active during your lifetime even if you become incompetent or disabled. You can personally select the specific property or subject matter that your durable power-of-attorney agreement will cover. It can include business operating transactions, real estate transactions, and tax matters.
Connect with a Long Island Advance Directives Attorney for Help Planning
A Long Island advance directives attorney from Davidow, Davidow, Siegel & Stern can help you establish a plan that perfectly suits your needs and goals.
To secure your long-term care plan and mitigate issues for your family, reach out to a Long Island estate planning lawyer from Davidow, Davidow, Siegel & Stern. We may be contacted by calling (631) 234-3030 or via our contact page.