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I Have Been Named a Health Care Agent…Now What?

Your loved one did their part and visited their NY estate lawyer to talk about medical concerns. A parent may be worried about declining health with age. A friend or sibling may wonder what would happen if they had a sudden accident or severe illness. They decided to execute a Health Care Proxy and named you as one of their agents. While this is great, what are your responsibilities as the agent? This question is often asked when decisions need to be made at a moment’s notice, but you can be prepared.

You, as the health care agent, now have a durable power of attorney in New York that allows you to step into this role if your loved one is not physically or mentally able to make medical decisions on their own. Physically, they may be unconscious and in need of life-saving medical procedures. Mentally, they may have a diagnosis, like dementia or a brain injury, indicating that they can’t actively participate in their own decision-making. When one of these conditions is met, your responsibilities may include the following:

  • Meeting with the medical team
  • Reviewing medical records
  • Asking questions about the condition and treatment options
  • Seeking a second opinion
  • Consenting to treatments
  • Refusing treatments

When faced with critical medical decisions, your family member may not have made their wishes known. A durable power of attorney in New York gives you the right to make health care decisions you believe are in your loved one’s best interest.

Health care proxies are valid in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and emergency situations. The expectation is that the agent always acts in the principal’s best interest. Ideally, these wishes are spelled out in a Living Will in detail. This document helps you understand your loved one’s preferences regarding extreme measures, such as life support, heart pumps, intravenous feeding tubes, and any other assistive device needed to maintain life. It is also a foundational document used in estate planning.

We encourage you to have these conversations with your family members and friends in advance of a crisis. At Russo Law Group, P.C., we are available to assist you with your healthcare proxies, living wills, and other estate planning documents that prepare you for emergencies.

When implementing an estate plan, it is important to consult with and retain experienced NY estate lawyers. The knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys at Russo Law Group, P.C., can provide professional services and advise you. Contact us today!

We invite you to browse our comprehensive website and take advantage of free seminars and webinars to learn more about how Russo Law Group, P.C. helps you navigate life’s challenges and provides you with peace of mind.

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