During the course of your lifetime you will make billions of decisions. Some of those decisions will be seemingly unimportant, everyday decisions while other will be huge, life changing decisions. Regardless of how important each of those decisions is, the point is that you made the decision. It would seem odd then, even unfair, to be stripped of the right to make your own healthcare and/or end of life decisions right? That is precisely what often happens, however, when an individual has not planned ahead. If you want to ensure that your wishes are honored with regard to healthcare decisions and end of life medical treatment you must plan accordingly. Specifically, you will likely wish to execute several New York Healthcare Directives and incorporate them into your estate plan.
What Is a Healthcare Directive?
A Healthcare Directive, also referred to as an Advanced Directive, is a document by which you may make provision for healthcare decisions in the event that, in the future, you become unable to make those decisions. A Healthcare Directive may also provide you with the option to appoint someone as your Agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them because of your own disability, incapacity, or incompetence.
Healthcare Directives are governed by state law, meaning that each individual state decides which directives will be recognized and honored and what language must be included in the document for that to occur. For this reason, it is always important to check with an estate planning attorney if you move from one state to another or you plan to spend an extended period of time in a state other than the state where you executed your Healthcare Directives.
What Healthcare Directives Are Available in the State of New York?
The State of New York recognizes four different type of Healthcare 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.
- 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.
Healthcare Directives Provide Peace of Mind
Whether you wish to decide end of life decisions because of your religious beliefs, or simply because you prefer to retain as much control as possible over your body, the only way to ensure that you can make those decisions is to execute the appropriate Healthcare Directive. Likewise, if you want the peace of mind that comes with choosing who will fill in for you and make other healthcare related decisions if you cannot make them, executing a healthcare directive is essential. Consult with your New York estate planning attorney to get started on your Healthcare Directives.
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns about New York Healthcare Directives, contact an experienced estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.