Health Care Proxy and Living Will

A Health Care Proxy is a document through which you, the "Principal," appoint someone to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to express your own intentions or wishes. The individual you appoint is called your "Agent." The medical decisions that your agent may make on your behalf include the right to authorize or refuse any course of treatment, any service, or any procedure to diagnose or treat any physical or mental condition you may have.

Although many assume that a Health Care Proxy is necessary only during "end of life" situations, that is not the case. A Health Care Proxy is effective anytime you are incapable of making your own decision, such as while under general anesthesia during a minor surgical procedure when a medical decision must be made.

Perhaps more importantly, in the event future diminished capacity, a Health Care Proxy (along with a Durable Power of Attorney) may eliminate the need for a Guardianship proceeding.

Along with a health care proxy, most people chose to include a Living Will, which is a declaration of the types and duration of treatment the individual would choose if he or she required medical care and were unable to communicate his or her intentions. The primary purpose of the Living Will is to allow you, the Principal, to direct the extent of treatment you wish your doctors to provide in keeping you alive if you should ever be in a terminal or vegetative condition, and unable to express your wishes. If you do not wish heroic measures to be taken, or artificial life-sustaining treatment to be administered, your Living Will makes these wishes clear.

Before creating your Health Care Proxy and Living Will, you should carefully select an Agent, typically a relative or close friend, whom you trust, and you should clearly communicate to this individual your feelings with regard to the measures you want undertaken on your behalf, and under which circumstances. Where your intentions may be unknown or unclear, your Agent must act in accordance with your best interests.

Fees:  The cost of a Health Care Proxy and Living Will is included in our Will and Trust packages, but if you choose not to get a complete package, we can prepare just a Health Care Proxy and Living Will for $100, and if you have a spouse or partner we will prepare a Health Care Proxy and Living Will for that person as well for an additional fee of just $50.

Please call the Law Offices of Todd Gustafson, Esq., at 585-230-6298 with any questions, or to schedule a free initial consultation. Just ask for Todd.