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Is a New York Health Care Proxy the same as a Living Will?

Health Care Proxy

A health care proxy assigns the power of making health care decisions to someone else. A person must be careful to choose someone he trusts completely for his health care proxy because the person will be entrusted to make potentially life-saving decisions. The health care proxy can also provide specific details on the level of care a patient would choose if he were mentally and physically able to decide for himself.

Is a Health Care Proxy the same as a Living Will?

No. A health care proxy assigns decision making power to another person and that person can make decisions based on the patient’s circumstances at the time the decision-making power is transferred. An individual does not have to guess what the future will hold because someone else can make decisions for the patient when the time comes.

A living will on the other hand addresses what types of care a person does or does want and typically addresses all possible medical circumstances which may arise in the future. A living will can complement a health care proxy by providing detail about a patient’s wishes so the person entrusted to make decisions can be guided by those choices. A patient who does not feel comfortable assigning the power to make health care decisions to one person can use a living will to guide medical providers in case of incapacity.

Getting Legal Help

Experienced Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney can help you decide what documents are needed for your personal healthcare goals.  Call us today at 973-841-5111.


Posted in: Elder Law, New York Estate Planning