Hopefully you never need Advance Directives. But when you do need them and don't have them...problems arise. Not little problems, big problems. Think guardianship proceeding. All avoidable by these three simple documents.
Accidents and other emergencies can happen at any time. Advance Directives and a Power of Attorney can speak for you when you can’t do so for yourself.
Advance directives put in writing exactly what you want and eliminate guesswork and ambiguity for your friends and family.
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Health Care Proxy
Name an agent to make medical decisions for if you are unable to do so for yourself. In New York State you may choose one agent under your healthcare proxy. You may name successor agents if your primary agent is unable or unwilling to act. This is to ensure that only one person has ultimate decision-making power to avoid conflict.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal instrument that delegates to a person or persons, your agent(s), the legal authority to handle your financial matters if you become unable to do so on your own. You can choose one agent under power of attorney, or multiple, as well as successor agents.
In New York we have a Durable Power of Attorney—which allows your agent to act on your behalf even when you become mentally incapacitated and are unable to make your own decisions or be consulted on financial matters. New York’s Power of Attorney becomes effective when the agent signs it, until you revoke it, and extinguishes upon your death.
Although you can download a living will or health care proxy on the internet without any major issues, I strongly suggest you have an attorney prepare a Power of Attorney. New York’s Durable Power of Attorney is extremely powerful and needs to be modified depending on your situation. A bare bones POA may not have the powers you need in the future or may give your agents too much inappropriate power.
A Living Will is a roadmap for your health care proxy. This document puts in writing the types of medical treatments you would or and would not want if you were in a vegetative state with no reasonable hope of recovery. Living wills are not considered “legal documents” in New York, and the state does not have a relevant statute. What a living will can do is put your wishes in writing and provide “clear and convincing evidence” of your medical care wishes.
Here, you address the possibility of:
- Use of a feeding tube or IV feeding for nourishment and hydration
- Electric shock
- The injection of medicine into your heart to restart it
- Blood transfusions
- Organ donations
Advance Directives Frequently Asked Questions
*Please note that our office does not provide notary service to the public. If you drop in for notary, the attorney will accommodate you if possible. However, we do not under any circumstances take appointments or calls regarding notary services. Thank you for understanding.
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