During the course of your life you make billions of decisions, some small and seemingly insignificant and other monumental and life-changing. Regardless of the importance of those decisions, we all take our ability to make decisions for granted. If you are one day unable to make decisions for yourself though, who will make them for you? Will anyone know what your wishes are with regard to healthcare treatment or end of life preferences? The only way to know the answers to those questions with certainty is if you execute an Advanced Directive as part of your overall estate plan.
An Advance Directive is a legal document that allows you to express your wishes and/or make decisions with regard to your end of life healthcare treatment and/or appoint someone to make decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them for yourself at some point in the future. Each state decides what Advance Directives it will recognize and what language must be included in an Advanced Directive for it to be valid. The State of New York recognizes four types of Advanced Directives, including:
- ·Healthcare Proxy – this allows you to appoint someone as your “Agent” who will be legally authorized to make important decisions regarding your medical treatment if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
- ·Living Will — a Living Will allows you to express your wishes with regard to important healthcare treatment decisions should you suffer from a serious conditions or be facing the end of your life. You may expressly state the kind of treatment you wish to receive as well as the kind of treatment you wish to refuse, such as life-sustaining measures.
- ·Living Will with Healthcare Proxy – this simply combines the two types of Advanced Directives into one document. Notes, however, that your Agent cannot override what you have expressly covered in your Living Will.
- ·Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) — this instructs medical professionals not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), that is, emergency treatment to restart your heart or lungs when your heartbeat or breathing stops. If you execute one it should be keep where rescue personnel can easily find it in your home or where you live.
For any of the Advanced Directives to be honored they must contain certain language and be properly executed which is why it is always best to consult with your New York estate planning attorney if you are interested in executing an Advanced Directive.
If you have additional questions or concerns about Advanced Directives, or estate planning in general, contact the experienced New York estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.
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