Can you imagine what it would be like if you were suddenly badly hurt and couldn’t speak for yourself? What about if you’re in surgery and the surgeon needs to find out what to do when they have more than one option?
These two scenarios are just a couple of many that could require someone else to make decisions on your behalf. To make sure they make a decision that you would want, you should look into establishing an advance directive.
In New York, you have three options, including:
- A health care proxy form
- A living will
- A do not resuscitate order (DNR)
These documents are important, because they allow you to make medical care decisions now that will be legally upheld in the future.
What is a health care proxy?
A health care proxy is a document that allows the people you trust to make health care decisions on your behalf. The form also appoints the person you’d like to have as your agent.
Understanding your living will
A living will gives you an opportunity to leave a list of your health care wishes. This makes it easier for your family to know what you’d like to have happen if you can’t make decisions at the time when you’re ill or injured. You can’t appoint your agent with this document, which is why you need a health care proxy as well.
Some people may want a do not resuscitate order, which is also known as a DNR. This order lets your health care providers know not to perform CPR or other procedures if you aren’t breathing or have no heartbeat. You decide if you’d like a DNR before any kind of life-threatening emergency occurs. For example, if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, you may decide to have a DNR to avoid resuscitation.
These are three documents that you should consider having in your estate plan. As you plan for your long-term medical care, it’s important to be clear about your wishes. Using these forms, you will be able to allow others to know what you want when an emergency arises.