Legal Checkup: Your Health Care Proxy

This edition of the Koldin Report E-Newsletter continues a series on the importance of an annual legal checkup of your estate planning documents. Just the way you go to the doctor for an annual check up, you should do a regular check up of your estate planning.

In this newsletter we discuss why your Health Care Proxy should be reviewed on an ongoing basis. All prior newsletters are saved on our website. You can read them by clicking here.

At the initial appointment with our clients, the Koldin Law Center, P.C. reviews your current Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy.

Even our current clients who meet with us for file review appointments often discover that their current legal documents need to be updated to meet changes that have occurred in the lives of their families.

We also discuss what planning you have done in the event long term care becomes necessary either at home or at a nursing home.

A Health Care Proxy is a legal document in New York State which allows you to appoint someone to make health care decisions on your behalf if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself.

Did You Include Feeding Tubes and Hydration Instructions in Your Health Care Proxy?

There is an optional section on the standard Health Care Proxy form with blank lines for additional instructions. We have found that most new clients who come to our office either don’t have a Health Care Proxy or have one with the optional section for additional instructions left blank.

Under New York law, your Health Care Proxy agent does not have the authority to make health care decisions for you about artificial nutrition and hydration (nourishment and water provided by feeding tube and intravenous line) unless you have made your wishes known to your agent.

As a practical matter, most hospitals and physicians will be very reluctant to follow an agent’s instructions without the necessary proof of your wishes. Therefore, it is critical that you make your wishes known in this optional section of your Health Care Proxy.

Have Your Children Grown Up?

Many new clients to our office don’t have a Health Care Proxy. Those who do have a Health Care Proxy often have appointed relatives and friends because their children were young at the time the document was prepared. Most people would prefer to have their adult children handle their medical decisions if they become mentally unable to do so.

Has Your Relationship Changed with Your Appointed Proxy?

It is important that you fully trust and have full confidence in the person you select to serve as your Health Care Proxy because this person might be making life or death decisions regarding your medical treatment including removal of life support. Your feelings about who you want to act as your Health Care Proxy can change over time as your relationship with each of your children and grandchildren changes.

The Koldin Law Center, P.C. located in East Syracuse, New York, prepares Health Care Proxies for clients that always include specific instructions on your wishes regarding HIPAA privacy, removal of life support, artificial nutrition and hydration. Unless the client instructs us otherwise, the Health Care Proxy we prepare also makes clear that you desire whatever treatment necessary for your comfort and to alleviate pain.

At the Koldin Law Center, P.C., located in East Syracuse, New York, we have over 50 years of experience helping individuals plan for immediate crisis and long term care. Our attorneys are available to discuss your estate planning options. We do not charge a fee for the initial consultation. We welcome your children, family attorney, accountant, and/or financial planner to be present at the initial consultation.

There is something you can do.

Our Attorneys are available to speak to your organization

Our Attorneys speak to groups throughout New York State as a public service. If you would like to arrange for one of our Attorneys to speak to your group, please contact our office.

We appreciate your referrals

We have been told by many clients who are in a crisis that they wish they had known about our firm much sooner. We are proud of the many families we have helped in times of crisis.

We are also proud of the many families we helped avoid financial crisis by doing estate planning in advance.

We all share the responsibility for making our family and friends aware of the planning options available to them.

Your referral to the Koldin Law Center could make a major difference in the lives of your family and friends if they are someday faced with a long term illness.

Remember that the Koldin Law Center offers many services for clients of all ages. Our services range from basic estate planning such as a simple will to complex estate planning including asset preservation planning.

THERE IS NO FEE FOR THE INITIAL CONSULTATION