Advance Directives – To Make Your Wishes Known
Advance directives, specifically a health-care proxy and a living will, are important for every adult, even those in good health.
A health care proxy, also known as a medical power of attorney, lets you appoint a person (and an alternate) to make health-care decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. Those decisions often have to do with what kind of life prolonging treatments you would want, if any.
A living will lets you specify the kinds of treatments you would and wouldn't want at the end of life. New York does not yet have a living will statute, but many health-care providers and judges will take into consideration a living will if they have to make decisions regarding your care. The person you name as your health care proxy might point to your living will as further evidence of your specific desires.
New York state distributes a health care proxy – in English and Spanish – along with excellent instructions. We’ve included links to that form, in English and Spanish. We’ve also included links to Living Will forms.
After you’ve completed your advance directives, make sure your doctors and relatives all get copies, and that you have copies handy to take with you whenever you go to a hospital. Do not lock your health care proxy form in a safe-deposit box, but keep copies at home where your family knows to find them.
It’s a good idea to review these documents on a regular basis, and update them if your wishes have changed. Make sure the person who holds your proxy understands what you do and don’t want. It’s a good idea to let your entire family know as well.
Download Forms Below: