When diminished mental capacity or chronic illness interferes with someone’s ability to make informed medical decisions for himself or herself, if that person previously executed a Health Care Proxy, that proxy can be activated, essentially transferring the right to make medical decisions to a trusted party.
When a Healthcare Proxy Makes Sense
Healthcare proxies make sense for most people as a safety net to ensure their needs are cared for by people they trust and love in the manner they prefer. People who are well and capable as well as those suffering from mental illness, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, severe diabetes and other chronic conditions may eventually suffer from a diminished mental capacity. As their condition worsens, they may refuse needed treatment or cease taking needed medication. A healthcare proxy not only allows you to make informed decisions on behalf of an ailing family member, it also provides you with legal grounds for obtaining a court order to compel your loved one to comply with doctor’s orders.
Living Wills – Making Sure Your Wishes Are Respected
Should you become completely incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions for yourself, it’s likely doctors will use whatever life saving or life support technology they have available. This could result in a case like Karen Ann Quinlan or Terry Schiavo where you are left in a permanent vegetative state. Not only can this lead to controversy among family members, it can also create financial problems when insurance runs out or is denied. A health care proxy in conjunction with a living will can allow you to direct when you want to remove feeding tubes, end resuscitation efforts or cease pumping air into your lungs.
Blake Law attorneys have the experience and resources needed to help you in creating a health care proxy. Additionally, we can review your existing estate plan to ensure there are no potential areas of conflict – for example, where different family members have been selected for different kinds of legal authority.
For more information on healthcare proxies, living wills and how we can help you, contact the estate planning lawyers at Blake Law today.