Our Trusts, Estates and Elder Law Group is sensitive and aware of the needs of our clients during difficult times. We plan for both unforeseen and expected disabilities and incapacitation by preparing living wills, health care proxies and powers of attorneys for our clients to protect them in the event of incapacity.
A living will is a document that specifically states what medical treatment you want and don’t want, and under what circumstances. It can be very detailed, but if a person does not have a health care proxy to help carry out the wishes set forth in a living will, living wills can be open to interpretation. New York State does not have legislation on living wills, as most other states do. However, most hospitals and medical care providers do accept them if there is nothing else to guide them.
Every person should have a living will and a health care proxy. One reason is that living wills are generally recognized nationwide; you could end up hospitalized in a state where a New York health care proxy means nothing and your living will is recognized. Another reason is that a living will offer invaluable guidance to your health care agent or proxy. Preparation of a living will forces a person to have a conversation about what you want and may shield children from having to make life or death decisions for you on a hunch.