What does a Health Care Proxy allow you to do?

A Health Care Proxy allows you to appoint someone, over the age of 18 that you trust to make health care decisions for you, should you lose the ability to make them yourself.

When does a Health Care Proxy take effect?

A Health Care Proxy takes effect after two doctors decide you are not able to make your own decisions.

Can I name two people as agents on my Health Care Proxy?

Two people may be listed on your Health Care Proxy and should be listed on the Health Care Proxy however, only one may act at a time.  The other would be a successor agent should your primary agent be unable to act.

Can I change my agent on my Health Care Proxy?

Yes, you are able to cancel the authority given to your agent and replace them at any time so long as you have the requisite mental capacity.

What happens if I name my spouse as my agent on my Health Care Proxy and we get a divorce?

If you name your spouse as your agent and you get a divorce, your Health Care Proxy is automatically cancelled upon your divorce.  Should you want them to remain your Health Care Proxy, you will have to rename them on the document.

It is always a good idea to change your health care proxy to reflect changes in your interpersonal relationships.

Can my agent named on my Health Care Directive make end of life decisions for me?

Yes, your agent can make any and all decisions related to your health once you are deemed incapacitated.

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will is a document that spells out your end of life care wishes pertaining to medical treatments you would want or would not want to keep you alive, as well as other decisions such as pain management and organ donation.  A Living Will can also provide instruction to your Health Care Proxy as to these wishes regarding end of life care and medical treatment

Do I need both, a Health Care Proxy and Living Will?

Although it is not necessary to have both a Health Care Proxy and Living Will, it is a good idea to implement both so that you can leave specific medical instructions in writing and appoint a health care agent to carry them out.  Also, many times someone appoints a Health Care Proxy thinking that they would know their wishes yet never actually discusses what they want/does not want with this person. Having both will ensure your wishes are being carried out the way you want.

What happens if I become incapacitated and I do not have health care directives?

If you can no longer make financial and personal decisions for yourself and no individual has been legally selected to make these decisions, you will need a court-appointed guardian.