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Making a Health Proxy in New York

New York Health Proxy Basics

Under New York law, a person is allowed to appoint an agent to make health care decisions on their behalf if they are unable to make those decisions on their own by preparing and signing a health care proxy form. The designated health care agent has the ability to interpret a personā€™s wishes as their medical condition changes and circumstances surrounding their health care change.

A person can designate the types of decisions they want their agent to make and/or put an expiration period on the health care proxy. It is also possible to designate a successor when an agent is unavailable or to make two health care proxy designees giving agents different decision-making powers with or without time limits. For example, a person could designate a spouse with the decision-making process regarding life support and do not resuscitate matters and designate a son or daughter, who must be over the age of 18, with the decision-making process regarding organ donor decisions.

Decisions that are commonly made by a health proxy designee include the following:

ā€¢Ā Life support when a person is in a coma
ā€¢Ā Treatments continued or discontinued
ā€¢Ā Artificial nutrition and hydration and under what types of circumstances
ā€¢Ā Organ donor decisions

Who Can be a New York Health Care Proxy Agent?

The following persons can be designed as your agent:

ā€¢Ā A spouse
ā€¢Ā Domestic partner
ā€¢ A child over the age of 18
ā€¢Ā Sibling
ā€¢ Father or mother or both jointly or another family member
ā€¢Ā Friend
ā€¢Ā An attorney

A personā€™s doctor or health care provider cannot be their agent under New York law. Hospitals, doctors and other health care providers are required to abide by a personā€™s health care proxy and follow the personā€™s wishes and the decisions made by the personā€™s agent. An agent will not be held liable for any decisions.

Making Changes to the New York Health Proxy

If a person decides to change an agent, this can be done easily at any time by signing a new health care proxy form. Otherwise, the existing health care proxy would remain in effect until a person passes away unless it has an expiration period. When a person gets a divorce or they are legally separated, the appointment of an ex-spouse is automatically canceled. However, if a person wants their ex-spouse to remain as their health care proxy agent, a statement can be added by them to the current health care proxy, or they can sign a new one.

It is a good idea for a person to keep a copy of their health care proxy where it can be easily accessed such as in their wallet and to give a copy to their agent, other family members, a close friend or attorney in case there is an emergency, and the person is unable to make decisions about their own health care and treatments. This way a person knows that their wishes will be followed. An attorney can assist with the preparation of a health care proxy and answer any questions a person may have about the use of it.

If you wish to speak to a New York estate attorney, call theĀ Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.