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How Do I Choose The Right Health Care Proxy?


An important part of estate planning in Westchester County and Putnam County is creating advance directives and choosing a health care proxy to make important medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions for yourself. Yet choosing a health care proxy can be complicated, and it is important to ensure that you have all the information you need to make an informed choice. Our experienced Pleasantville estate planning attorneys can assist you with various issues concerning advance directives in New York, including matters that arise under New York’s Health Care Proxy Law. In the meantime, the following information can help you to understand how the law works and to take steps to choose the right health care proxy.

Understanding How New York’s Health Care Proxy Law Works 

In order to make an informed decision about your health care proxy, it is important to understand how the law works in New York. Under the New York Health Care Proxy Law, you can appoint a person that you trust to make health care decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. New York law identifies the person you choose as your health care agent, and you might see this person described as having health care power of attorney.

In order to appoint a health care agent in New York, you will typically fill out a Health Care Proxy Form, which is a legal document that you will sign. You should know that the form will only take effect—meaning that the health care agent will only be able to make healthcare decisions for you—if you become unable to make those decisions for yourself.

Choosing a Health Care Proxy 

How do you choose the right person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation? Consider some of the following information as you are considering who you might appoint as your health care agent:

  • Anyone named as a health care agent under New York Health Care Proxy Law must be at least 18 years old;
  • Your health care agent can be a family member, a friend, a health care provider, or another party altogether;
  • If you select a health care provider (like your doctor) to serve as your health care agent, that person cannot also serve as your attending doctor under New York law;
  • You should always discuss your health care proxy plans with the person you plan to name as your agent to make sure that they are willing to serve in this capacity;
  • If you name your spouse and you get divorced before you can amend your Health Care Proxy Form, New York law will not allow your ex-spouse to serve as your health care agent unless you expressly indicate that a divorce will not end your ex-spouse’s ability to be your health care agent.

Contact a Westchester County Estate Planning Lawyer 

If you have questions about naming a health care proxy or if you need more information about estate planning in New York, you should contact one of the experienced Westchester County estate planning attorneys at Meyers & Spencer, PC for more information.



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