Health Care Proxies: Planning For Medical Care And End-Of-Life Treatment
Management of your own medical care is a profoundly personal matter that gets to the heart of what it means to be autonomous and independent. Few of us would be comfortable leaving these decisions to someone else if we were capable of making and communicating them ourselves.
Unfortunately, this is a contingency that needs to be planned for. Although Americans are living longer, old age comes with risks of incapacity in the form of Alzheimer’s, dementia, coma and other devastating conditions. An important aspect of estate planning is stating your wishes and preferences for medical care and designating a trusted person to make decisions on your behalf if you can no longer do so.
I am Richard Davidson, an attorney with three decades of experience in estate law. When you work with my firm, I will guide you through all aspects of estate planning, including important health care decisions like these.
Health Care Proxies And Agents
The document specifying your wishes for medical care and end-of-life care is commonly known as a living will. In Massachusetts, it is called a health care proxy. It specifies what kinds of care you would like to receive if you ever become incapacitated, as well as what lifesaving and life-extending interventions you do and do not want.
Health care proxies may not be able to account for all contingencies, which is why you will also need to appoint a health care agent. This is someone you trust to make medical decisions for you (in the event of incapacity) according to your written wishes and his or her inferences about what you would want in a given situation. It is also a good idea to appoint a backup or alternate in case your primary agent is unable to fulfill his or her duties.
Health care proxies can be highly specific or fairly general, but it is important to have a plan in place.
Estate planning inevitably intersects with health care law. And in a sense, planning for incapacity is as important as writing a will. When you contact my firm, I will take the time to discuss your options with you and help you express your health care wishes clearly and unambiguously.
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Located in Bedford, Davidson Law Office serves clients throughout Middlesex County. To discuss your estate planning needs with a highly experienced lawyer, call me at 781-275-0222 or send me an email.