Nassau County Living Will Attorney | Queens Healthcare Directive Lawyer
Living Wills Attorney
Serving clients in Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens County
The case involving the life, and eventual death, of Terri Schiavo in Florida has brought estate planning to the forefront of America’s consciousness. Having a living will in place prevents the likelihood that arguments between loved ones will ensue upon the event of your incapacitation.
- Our lawyers and staff at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo understand the sensitive nature of this area of law. Not all individuals are comfortable planning for an unknown injury that may render them unable to communicate their wishes. We can minimize the amount of discomfort this process may cause while still composing an effective Living Wills.
- We can also help you establish other plans including advanced healthcare directives, healthcare powers of attorney, a health care proxy, wills and trusts and any other documents needed to communicate your requests in the event that you cannot speak for yourself.
- Do not go one more day without a Living Wills. No one ever knows what the future may hold for you. Our office can help you solidify your wishes and plan for the unknown.
Contact a Nassau County Living Will Attorney at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo today. We are dedicated to assisting individuals with all aspects of Elder Law and issues that pertain to senior citizens. Our sensitivity to these issues works to your advantage throughout the entirety of your case. Let us help you begin planning for your future today.
We have offices in Lynbrook, Queens, and Suffolk County, and we represent individuals throughout New York, including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County; and New York City’s five boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and all of the surrounding areas.
Just as we create estate plans for our eventual demise, we also need to plan ahead for the possibility that we will become sick and unable to make our own medical decisions. Medical science has created many miracles, among them the technology to keep patients alive longer, sometimes indefinitely. As a result of many well-publicized "right to die" cases, states have made it possible for individuals to give detailed instructions regarding the kind of care they would like to receive should they become terminally ill or are in a permanently unconscious state. These instructions fall under the general category of "health care decisionmaking." Depending on the state in which you live, this may take the form of a health care proxy, a medical directive, or a living will.
The Health Care Proxy
If an individual becomes incapacitated, it is important that someone have the legal authority to communicate that person’ wishes concerning medical treatment. Similar to a power of attorney, a health care proxy allows an individual to appoint someone else to act as their agent, but for medical, as opposed to financial, decisions. The health care proxy is a document executed by a competent person (the principal) giving another person (the agent) the authority to make health care decisions for the principal if he or she is unable to communicate such decisions. By executing a health care proxy, principals ensure that the instructions that they have given their agent will be carried out. A health care proxy is especially important to have if an individual and family members may disagree about treatment.
In general, a health care proxy takes effect only when the principal requires medical treatment and a physician determines that the principal is unable to communicate his or her wishes concerning treatment. How this works exactly can depend on the laws of the particular state and the terms of the health care proxy itself. If the principal later becomes able to express his or her own wishes, he or she will be listened to and the health care proxy will have no effect.
Appointing an Agent
Since the agent will have the authority to make medical decisions in the event the principal is unable to make such decisions for him- or herself, the agent should be a family member or friend that the principal trusts to follow his or her instructions. Before executing a health care proxy, the principal should talk to the person whom he or she wants to name as the agent about the principal’ wishes concerning medical decisions, especially life-sustaining treatment.
Once the health care proxy is drawn up, the agent should keep the original document. The principal should have a copy and the principal’ physician should keep a copy with that individual’ medical records.
Those interested in drawing up a health care proxy document should contact an attorney who is skilled and experienced in elder law matters. Many hospitals and nursing homes also provide forms, as do some public agencies.
Accompanying a health care proxy should be a medical directive. Such directives provide the agent with instructions on what type of care the principal would like. A medical directive can be included in the health care proxy or it can be a separate document. It may contain directions to refuse or remove life support in the event the principal is in a coma or a vegetative state, or it may provide instructions to use all efforts to keep the principal alive, no matter what the circumstances. Medical directives can also be broader statements granting general authority for all medical decisions that are important to the principal. These broader medical directives give the agent guidance in less serious situations.
Living wills are documents that give instructions regarding treatment if the individual becomes terminally ill or is in a persistent vegetative state and is unable to communicate his or her own instructions. The living will states under what conditions life-sustaining treatment should be terminated. If an individual would like to avoid life-sustaining treatment when it would be hopeless, he or she needs to draw up a living will. Like a health care proxy, a living will takes effect only upon a person’ incapacity. Also, a living will is not set in stone; an individual can always revoke it at a later date if he or she wishes to do so.
A living will, however, is not necessarily a substitute for a health care proxy or broader medical directive. It simply dictates the withdrawal of life support in instances of terminal illness, coma or a vegetative state.
We have offices in Lynbrook, Queens, and Suffolk County, and we represent individuals throughout the New York metropolitan area, including Long Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County; and NYC’s five boroughs of The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.
Tags: advance health care directive, right to die, power of attorney, health care proxy, health care, legal documents, elder law, estate planning, medical ethics, suffolk county, queens county, nassau county, medical directives, euthanasia, care