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As you have grown older, you may have shared with your loved ones your healthcare wishes, should your health ever significantly decline. But you cannot guarantee that they will follow your wishes, or even fully remember them, without having a legalized document to reference. That is, it is strongly encouraged that you create and incorporate a healthcare proxy into your estate plan. Read on to discover the importance of a healthcare proxy and how a seasoned New York City power of attorney lawyer at Zimmet Law Group, P.C. can help you establish one.

What is a healthcare proxy and what is its importance?

To start, a healthcare proxy is a type of estate planning document in which you may authorize an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. With this, your agent may step up to this responsibility in the event that you no longer possess the capacity to make such healthcare decisions by yourself, let alone coherently communicate them. This legal document is also commonly referred to as a healthcare power of attorney.

Of note, your healthcare proxy should be established alongside your healthcare directive. This is because your healthcare directive may be used to specify what actions you prefer to be taken regarding your health. This is especially relevant when it comes to your agent handling your end-of-life care. With all that being said, you may cover the following end-of-life decisions in your healthcare directive:

  • Whether or not you wish to receive CPR or other life-support measures if your heartbeat or breathing stops.
  • Whether or not you wish to be administered artificial nutrition or hydration at the end of life.
  • Whether or not you wish to be sent to a hospital to receive treatment at the end of life.
  • Whether or not you wish to be intubated or put on dialysis at the end of life.
  • Whether or not you wish to donate your organs or tissues upon your passing.

What other powers of attorney should I consider?

While your healthcare proxy is important, there are other powers of attorney that you must be mindful of. For example, there is a financial power of attorney, in which you may grant an agent the authority to handle your financial affairs. This is especially necessary to consider if you own a business.

For the unexpected, there is a springing power of attorney that becomes effective after a triggering event (i.e., incurring a mental or physical disability). And if you are hesitant about assigning a great amount of control, there is a limited power of attorney that restricts an agent’s actions according to your disclosed wishes. Ultimately, your selection should coincide with your unique life circumstances.

With much to consider, you must not wait too long to retain the services of a competent New York City estate planning attorney. So please call Zimmet Law Group, P.C. at your earliest possible convenience.