What is a Health Care Proxy
Understanding the Significance of a Health Care Proxy in Estate Planning
When working with an estate planning lawyer, one of the essential legal documents they'll recommend is a health care proxy. Also referred to as a medical power of attorney, this document plays a crucial role in ensuring your health care wishes are upheld, even when you cannot communicate them yourself.
Can You Specify Treatment Decisions in a Health Care Proxy?
In some states, individuals can create a living will, allowing them to outline their treatment preferences. These preferences might cover life-sustaining treatments and the specific circumstances under which they should or should not be administered.
However, it's important to note that Massachusetts does not recognize living wills. Instead, our state law acknowledges the power of a health care proxy, granting your designated health care agent or proxy the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. While you may not have the option to create a living will, the exercise of considering your treatment preferences can serve as a valuable guide to your chosen proxy.
Additionally, having a health care proxy in place is essential, especially if you travel or reside in states that do recognize living wills. In such cases, your health care proxy can prevent unnecessary or unwanted medical decisions, aligning with your documented preferences.
Does the Health Care Proxy Authorize Financial Decisions?
It's crucial to understand that a health care proxy exclusively addresses medical decisions. It does not grant the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. If you wish to designate someone for financial matters, you should consult your attorney regarding either a springing or durable power of attorney.
When Should You Have a Health Care Proxy?
The misconception that a health care proxy is only relevant for the elderly or those with terminal illnesses is a common one. However, the truth is, individuals of all ages should consider this critical document as soon as they become adults.
Parents, in particular, should be aware that once a child turns 18, their legal authority to make medical decisions on their behalf diminishes. It is highly advisable to have your young adult complete and sign a health care proxy document, especially before they embark on their college journey or move out of state. This precaution ensures that in case of illness or injury, and if they are unable to communicate their preferences, there is a trustworthy person designated to make those decisions on their behalf.
Need Help With a Health Care Proxy?
Wondering How to Get Started With a Health Care Proxy?
Our Solutions Roadmap is a quick and easy way to share some information about your situation and your goals and receive preliminary feedback from a member of our team. Use the button below to get started- it is 100% confidential and 100% free.
How Our Estate Planning Lawyers Can Help
A health care proxy is not just a document for the elderly; it is an essential part of responsible estate planning that should be considered by all adults, offering peace of mind and a clear path to honoring your health care wishes, regardless of your age or health status. We are ready to help. You can use the button below to schedule a free information call, or simply give us a call at 781-784-2322.