While most of us don’t expect anything untoward to happen to us, the fact remains that life is unpredictable. We could meet with a serious accident or suddenly get diagnosed with a terminal illness. This is why we need to have a checklist that covers all the important things needed in a health care proxy – just in case something happens. Appointing a health care proxy should be at the top of the list.
Your health care proxy or medical proxy will perform important duties in case you are no longer in a position where you can make your own health care decisions.
Your health care proxy or medical proxy will have the medical power of attorney. This means that they will have the power to make your medical or health care decisions for you in the event you are no longer able to make your medical decisions yourself. Your health care proxy will only be responsible for your treatment decisions. When you give another person the authority to act as your medical proxy, they are known as your health care agent, and you will be the principal.
Situations involving financial decisions, such as insurance settlements or paying off medical bills, will be the responsibility of your durable power of attorney. If you have any questions about insurance settlements or how you can pay off your medical bills – then reach out to Uplife. Our agents can help you with any doubts you may have.
You may choose anyone to be your medical proxy as long as they are a competent adult. People often choose their loved ones including their spouse, close friends, family members, or adult children as their health care proxy. In case you do not have a family member who you can appoint as your health care proxy, you may choose a lawyer or a social worker.
Exception: An employee of your primary physician, health care provider, or residential health care provider can be your health care proxy if they are a family member or a relative.
When you appoint a health care proxy, you designate them to act as your medical power of attorney. They will be responsible for making medical decisions and health care decisions for you when you are indisposed. This could be on a temporary basis, where you are under anesthesia for a surgery, or a long-term basis, where you have a terminal or degenerative disease.
While anyone who is over 18 years of age can be your medical proxy, you should choose someone you can trust to act in your best interests. Most people have very strong opinions on medical treatments, including resuscitation (do not resuscitate), life-support, organ donation, and life-sustaining measures. When you choose a medical proxy, they should be familiar with your stance on medical decisions, religious beliefs, and end-of-life care.
Choose your health care agent – You should exercise good judgment while choosing your proxy. It should be someone you can trust to act in your best interests when you are incapacitated. If you have advance directives or a living will, then your medical proxy should be someone you can count on to follow your medical directives .
Fill out health care proxy forms – You will be able to find health care proxy forms online. Most states will have the health care proxy forms available on their Department of Human Services website.
Have the form notarized. After you fill out the form, you will need to get the form notarized. In the state of New York, you will also need two witnesses who can attest that you are of sound mind and are signing the forms out of your own free will.
Give copies of the form to the necessary people. Several people involved in your care will need copies of the health care proxy form. This includes your primary physician, any medical professional involved in your care, your lawyer, your health care proxy, your spouse, family members, and your close friends. If you live in a nursing home, then the administrator of the home will also need a copy of the form.
A: Your health care proxy will have the medical power of attorney, but they will not have any authority over your financial matters. Financial decisions are the responsibility of your durable power of attorney.
A: You may have one person as your health care proxy, but you may appoint alternative agents. If your primary proxy is not able to fulfill their duties, then your alternate can step in.
A: Yes, you may revoke your medical proxy as long as you are competent and of sound mind.
A: It depends on state law. In the majority of states, it is legally binding. But in Massachusetts, it is not a legally binding document.