It’s important to have a health care proxy – someone who can make decisions for you if you’re unable to. Here’s how to change your health care proxy.
Checkout this video:
Why you should have a healthcare proxy
A healthcare proxy is someone you designate to make decisions about your health care if you are unable to do so yourself. This could be because you are unconscious, have a degenerative cognitive condition, or are otherwise incapacitated.
Your healthcare proxy should be someone you trust implicitly to follow your wishes and advocate on your behalf. You should discuss your wishes with them in advance of any need to do so, and keep the conversation open in case your wishes change.
It is important to have a healthcare proxy because, without one, family members may have to make difficult decisions about your care without knowing what you would want. This can cause conflict and hardship at an already difficult time.
If you don’t have a healthcare proxy and something happens where you are unable to make decisions about your health care, a court may appoint a guardian to make those decisions for you. That process can be lengthy and expensive, and it may not result in someone being appointed who knows or respects your wishes.
It is relatively easy to appoint a healthcare proxy. You can do so by signing a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form (or something similar, depending on your state). You should keep the original form in a safe place and give copies to your healthcare proxy, alternateproxy, physician, and anyone else who might need it in the event that you become incapacitated.
What is a healthcare proxy?
A healthcare proxy is someone you choose to make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to do so yourself. This person is also sometimes called a healthcare agent or a medical power of attorney.
You may want to choose a healthcare proxy if you are seriously ill and want to make sure your wishes are carried out, or if you simply want someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf.
In most states, you must be 18 years old or older to choose a healthcare proxy. You also must be considered competent by a doctor to understand the nature and purpose of choosing a proxy and the health care decisions that may need to be made.
You do not need to have a terminal illness to choose a healthcare proxy, but it is important to have this conversation with your loved ones while you are healthy so that they know your wishes in the event that you become ill.
How to choose a healthcare proxy
A healthcare proxy is someone you appoint to make decisions about your health care if you are unable to make them yourself. This person will be your advocate and speak on your behalf to make sure that your wishes are carried out.
The first step in choosing a healthcare proxy is to identify someone you trust implicitly and who you believe will understand your wishes. This person should be over the age of 18 and should not be your health care provider.
Once you have chosen someone, you need to have a conversation with them about your wishes. It is important to be as specific as possible about the kind of medical treatment you would or would not want in different scenarios. You should also discuss your burial or cremation preferences with them.
Once you have made your decisions, you need to put them in writing in a healthcare proxy form. This form should be signed by both you and your chosen healthcare proxy and witnessed by two other adults. Once the form is complete, it should be kept in a safe place where it can easily be found by your proxy.
How to appoint a healthcare proxy
A healthcare proxy is someone you appoint to make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to speak for yourself.
You may appoint a healthcare proxy by signing a document called a Healthcare Proxy form or other similar document that names your agent and gives them authority to make medical decisions on your behalf.
The person you appoint as your healthcare proxy should be someone you trust to make decisions in accordance with your wishes, and they should be willing to accept this responsibility.
It is important to have a clear and frank discussion with the person you are appointing as your healthcare proxy about your wishes regarding medical treatment, including end-of-life care. This will ensure that they are able to make informed decisions on your behalf.
If you have any questions about appointing a healthcare proxy or if you would like assistance in drafting a Healthcare Proxy form, please contact an experienced estate planning attorney.
What powers does a healthcare proxy have?
As your healthcare proxy, or agent, you will have the power to make all medical decisions for the person you are appointed to help. This includes decisions about things like hospitalization, surgery, and end-of-life care. You will also have the power to access the person’s medical records and talk to their doctors.
When does a healthcare proxy take effect?
A healthcare proxy is a legal designation that gives someone else the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. The healthcare proxy designation is often made as part of an advance directives package, which also includes a living will.
In most states, the healthcare proxy designation takes effect immediately upon signing, provided you are of sound mind and over the age of 18. If you later become incapacitated and do not have a healthcare proxy in place, your family members or next of kin will need to petition the court to be appointed your legal guardian in order to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
If you have not yet designated a healthcare proxy and would like to do so, you can find state-specific information and forms at www.caringinfo.org.
How long does a healthcare proxy last?
Most healthcare proxies last until you die orrevoke them. You can revoke your proxy at any time by telling your agent or proxy in writing that you revoke it, or by destroying the document. You should also give copies of your revocation to your agent, your alternate agent if you have one, and to anyone else who has a copy of your original healthcare proxy.
What if you don’t have a healthcare proxy?
If you don’t have a healthcare proxy, your family or friends will have to go to court to get legal authority to make decisions for you. This is called “getting a guardianship.”
How to change your healthcare proxy
A healthcare proxy is someone who you appoint to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. You may need to change your healthcare proxy for a variety of reasons, such as if the person you originally appointed can no longer serve in that role or if your relationship with that person has changed. Here are a few things to keep in mind when changing your healthcare proxy:
1. In most states, you will need to fill out a new healthcare proxy form and have it witnessed or notarized.
2. You should notify your doctor and other close family or friends that you have changed your healthcare proxy.
3. It is a good idea to keep a copy of your new healthcareproxy form in a safe place, such as with your important legal documents.
4. If you have any questions about changing your healthcare proxy, you should consult an attorney familiar with estate planning and healthcare law.
FAQs about healthcare proxies
A healthcare proxy is a person you designate to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
You may have questions about who can serve as your healthcare proxy, what authority they will have, and how to change your healthcare proxy if your circumstances change. This article will answer some frequently asked questions about healthcare proxies so that you can be sure you have the most up-to-date and accurate information.
1. Who can serve as my healthcare proxy?
Your healthcare proxy can be anyone over the age of 18 whom you trust to make decisions in accordance with your wishes. It is often a good idea to choose someone who lives close by so that they can easily attend doctor’s appointments and other medical appointments with you. You can also appoint more than one person to serve as your healthcare proxy, which can be helpful if you have complex medical needs or want more than one person to be involved in your care.
2. What authority does my healthcare proxy have?
Your healthcare proxy will have the authority to make any and all medical decisions on your behalf that you would otherwise be able to make yourself. This includes giving or refusing consent for medical procedures, authorizing or refusing release of medical information, and making decisions about life support in the event that you are incapacitated.
You should discuss your wishes with your healthcare proxy ahead of time so that they know what kind of decisions they may need to make on your behalf. It is also a good idea to put your wishes in writing so that there is no confusion about what you would want in different situations.
3. How do I change my healthcare proxy?
You can change your healthcare proxy at any time by simply completing a new designation form and signing it in front of a witness. You should then give copies of the new form to your doctor, your family members, and anyone else who might need to know about the change (such as the person who was previously serving as your healthcare proxy). You should also destroy any old copies of the designation form so that there is no confusion about which form is currently valid.
4. What if I don’t have a healthcare proxy?
If you do not designate a healthcare proxy, then any important medical decisions that need to be made on your behalf will likely fall to your next of kin or another family member. This can cause stress and conflict at an already difficult time, so it is generally advisable to appoint a healthcare proxy even if you are healthy and do not anticipate needing one anytime soon.