Life During COVID-19: The Importance of Naming a Health Care Proxy

The world is currently in the midst of a pandemic that has suddenly altered daily life in ways never before seen by recent generations. Millions of people around the globe are currently restricted to their homes absent necessary trips into the public, hundreds of thousands of people have been infected with what is commonly known as Coronavirus, and tens of thousands have died from this infection worldwide according to most recent statistics. These unfortunate and uncertain times should be a stark reminder of the need to ensure your affairs are in order so that your plans and wishes will be carried out should you become ill, incapacitated and/or otherwise unable to handle your own health care decisions.

A health care proxy, otherwise referred to as a health care representative, health care agent, etc. is the person you designate in an advance health care directive to stand in your shoes and make your healthcare decisions during those times that you are unable to make those critical health decisions. In this role, your designated health care proxy will make those healthcare decisions in accordance with your wishes as expressed in a living will or as you have otherwise expressed them to your proxy. This may include consenting or rejecting to experimental treatment and consenting or refusing certain treatments and/or medications or other necessary life-sustaining treatments.

Formally designating your desired health care proxy in an advance health care directive is important for everyone, but particularly for unmarried couples who desire to have their partner step in to make those medical decisions for them in times of incapacity. Since your partner is not classified as a family member or other next-of-kin, absent designation as your health care proxy, you will find that your loved one is not only excluded from participating in medical decision-making, but is also closed off from getting any medical information about you including your condition, treatment and status.

The skilled and knowledgeable attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. have extensive estate planning experience in addressing this particular issue. We invite you to contact us online or give us a call at our office at 908-575-9777 to schedule an appointment today. For your convenience we offer telephone consultations which allows you to speak with an experienced attorney about your estate planning needs from the comfort and security of your home.