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Advance Directive Attorneys in Tonawanda, New York

While many people hope for a healthy life, you never know what will happen in the foreseeable future. For this reason, many people set up an advance directive to make sure that loved ones make the right decisions regarding healthcare in the event of incapacity.

At the Law Office Of Corey J. Rossi, PLLC, we assist clients in Tonawanda, Amherst, Wheatfield, New York, and throughout Niagara and Erie counties with various estate planning matters, including setting up advance directives. We are laidback and easygoing attorneys who genuinely care about clients and are ready to devote our time to understanding your specific situation.

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What Is an Advance Directive?

The term “advance directive” is a broad term that describes any legal document that addresses a person’s future medical care in the event of incapacity. Typically, an advance directive consists of a medical power of attorney (health care proxy) and a living will.

With an advance directive, also known as healthcare or medical directive, a person can instruct others about the medical treatments that person would and would not want to undergo when unable to make medical decisions.

An advance directive allows you to have confidence knowing that your preferences about end-of-life care will be respected and followed by your family members and healthcare providers if you cannot communicate your wishes on your own.

According to the New York Department of Health, individuals can set up an advance directive by completing a health care proxy form. The form can be completed by anyone over the age of 18. With the health care proxy form, a person can appoint someone trusted – an agent – to make medical decisions on behalf of an individual who becomes incapacitated.

In New York, the principal – the person who sets up the directive – can make wishes known to the agent either in writing or orally. You must contact our experienced attorneys to help you navigate the process and assist you with setting up a legally binding advance directive.

Living Will vs. Health Care Proxy: What’s the Difference?

Many people do not understand the difference between a living will and a health care proxy. While the two legal documents have similarities, both are different. With a living will, a person can clarify preferences for medical decisions to make sure that medical care is handled the way that is desired.

Like a health care proxy, a living will must be set up before the individual is declared incapacitated. Thus, you must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind to create a living will and/or health care proxy. Unlike a health care proxy, a living will does not grant authority to a third party (the health care agent) to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Who Is a Health Care Agent?

With a health care proxy, the principal can appoint an agent to make decisions on behalf of the event of incapacity and inability to make decisions. In New York, you can appoint anyone you trust (e.g., your spouse, adult child, a close friend, or a family member) as your health care proxy, but you cannot appoint your treating physician.

After the appointment, the health care proxy goes into effect when the principal becomes incapacitated. When this happens, the health care agent has the authority to make medical decisions on the principal’s behalf. The agent has the right to obtain access to all medical records of the principal to be able to make an informed decision about medical care.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Directive

The Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Directive is a medical order written by a physician that tells other healthcare providers not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when the patient’s heart stops or the patient stops breathing. The legal document is set up before an emergency occurs.

MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)

The MOLST, which stands for Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, is a medical order that documents a patient’s preferences regarding end-of-life care based on communications between the patient, health care proxy, and healthcare providers. The form must be signed by a licensed physician in New York State to be legally binding.

Making Modifications

Patients who set up an advance directive may feel the need to make changes to the documents regarding healthcare. Making modifications is possible in New York. In fact, regular updates to the advance directive help ensure that the documents reflect your current wishes and goals.

If you wish to make modifications to your living will or health care proxy, you can do so by modifying or revoking your current document. Typically, people destroy the old document and execute a new one. When modifications are made, you need to notify your health care agent and other interested parties of the changes.

Advance Healthcare Directives Attorneys Serving Tonawanda, New York

Thinking about death or planning for incapacity is never a pleasant experience. However, it is always best to be prepared for everything. Our skilled advance healthcare directives attorneys at the Law Office Of Corey J. Rossi, PLLC can help review your specific situation and determine your estate planning options for healthcare based on your unique needs. We provide legal guidance to clients in Tonawanda, New York, as well as in Wheatfield, Amherst, and throughout Niagara and Erie counties.