Unfortunately, the future is full of uncertainties that make it scary to think about. However, it’s essential to take the time to plan for what could happen. For example, you likely know you should have a will created. You may not have considered what happens if you cannot make medical decisions for yourself. Taking the time to establish a medical power of attorney is vital to protecting your best interest. If you’re unfamiliar with the process of appointing a power of attorney, you’ll want to keep reading to discover how a Nassau County estate planning lawyer can assist you with this.
What Is a Medical Power of Attorney?
When you grant someone medical power of attorney, also referred to as a health care proxy in New York, you allow them to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. For example, if you are injured and in a coma, have a stroke and can no longer communicate, or have a degenerative disease in which you cannot understand your decisions, the power of attorney allows a person you choose to make these decisions.
It is necessary to carefully consider who you would like to serve as your agent. For example, if your child is a nurse or doctor, you may feel it’s in your best interest to appoint them to this role as they have healthcare knowledge. Regardless of who you choose, it’s also important to understand that you should thoroughly discuss your wishes with the agent. This is vital, as they should know what treatment options you’d like, what your end-of-life care should look like, and any medications you do not want to have.
How Do I Appoint Someone for this Role?
If you have decided what kind of care you’d like to receive and who you would like to act as your agent, you must go through the proper channels to ensure your decision is legally binding. You should enlist the assistance of an attorney to ensure the forms are filled out and filed properly.
To grant this authority, you must complete the proper forms. You must also have two witnesses, both of whom are over 18 and neither of whom are your appointed and alternate agents to sign the document. Once complete, you should make copies to hand to your agent, alternate proxy, and doctor. Be sure to store the original copy of the document in a safe location like a fireproof lockbox or with your attorney.
Though there are many uncertainties in the future, one thing you can do to help provide peace of mind is to create a medical power of attorney. At Barrows Levy, our dedicated estate planning team has the experience you need to help you through this process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.