Health Care Proxy Lawyer
Your estate plan should protect more than just your property. It should protect you.
At Casey Lundregan Burns, we recommend including a health care proxy in your estate plan to enable a loved one to authorize medical care on your behalf if you become unable to communicate due to illness or injury.
Understanding a Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy is a document in which you designate someone to serve as your health care agent. The agent will only serve if you are incapacitated. Otherwise, they have no authority to make decisions for you.
If your doctors determine that you are not able to make or communicate decisions about your health care needs, then your agent can step in and make decisions on your behalf. Your agent can consent to procedures such as surgery, blood transfusions, and tests. This could enable you to receive treatment more quickly and ensure that you receive the care you want.
You Can Change Your Health Care Proxy
As long as you remain mentally competent, Massachusetts law allows you to change or revoke your health care proxy at any time. In fact, the law presumes you to be competent to make such changes unless a court order specifies otherwise.
To revoke a health care proxy, all you need to do is notify the agent or a health care provider or take other action that reveals an intent to revoke it, such as by tearing up the document. When you create a new health care proxy, the old one is revoked automatically.
If you have named a spouse as your health care agent and you later get divorced, your health care proxy will also automatically be revoked. It is a good idea to review all of your documents after a divorce so you can make changes or establish new documents that comply with current laws and your specific wishes.
Giving Your Agent a Personal Directive
To help your health care agent understand the type of treatment you would want to receive in various situations, we can help you prepare a personal directive, also known as a living will. In some states, these documents are legally enforceable in court. However, in Massachusetts, they serve as a guideline to help your agent make decisions in line with your wishes. The benefit to this arrangement is that the law is not nearly as restrictive about what the directive can contain and how it must be written. This allows us considerable flexibility to describe your desires for care in a variety of situations.
Let Us Prepare a Comprehensive Estate Plan that Includes a Health Care Proxy
The team at Casey Lundregan Burns has seen many changes in estate planning since we first started helping families over 90 years ago. We have many more tools and strategies available to protect clients during their lifetime, as well as new ways to protect loved ones far into the future.
If you have not had a legal review of your estate plan in the past few years, we invite you to schedule a consultation to learn how we can get your plan up-to-date so it protects your full range of interests. To add or revise a health care proxy or any other component in your plan, contact us today.