Toms River, New Jersey -- Upon adulthood, individuals become responsible for themselves and the decisions they make. But in instances where a person can no longer make or communicate those decisions, a health care proxy, or medical power of attorney, gives a designated representative the right to make those decisions for them.
Especially in these times of COVID, people have been turning their attention to what happens in the case of a medical emergency. A health care proxy allows an individual to designate another party to make health-related decisions on their behalf should they not be able to communicate it themselves. A health care proxy may be part of a broader advance directive plan, but it doesn’t have to be.
“A health care proxy is important for anyone today. This is a simple legal document that authorizes another person to make critical medical decisions on your behalf should you not be able to do it for yourself,” explained Christine Matus, an experienced New Jersey estate planning lawyer and founding attorney at the Matus Law Group. “Your medical proxy can step in temporarily until you recover or may even need to make decisions if you are not expected to recover permanently. The important thing is that your proxy is a person of your choosing, someone you know and trust to make the right decisions on your behalf.”
There can be serious legal and time implications when a person can no longer make decisions for themselves, especially in life-challenging situations. If there is no health care proxy designated by the individual, the court may need to step in and appoint a surrogate.
“Even when dear family members are nearby or present, very often they have conflicting opinions on what to do when someone they love is no longer able to make medical decisions for themselves. Debate among family members can prolong decisions when time is of the essence in medical matters,” continued Ms. Matus. “A health care proxy is someone whom the individual has chosen to make those decisions for them in a way they would have made them. Instead of conflicting approaches that are often mired in complex family dynamics, the health care agent will be able to take decisive action when it is necessary.”
Although health care proxies are often family members and loved ones, the choice of a proxy should consider many things. Although the proxy will usually confer with family members, they must ultimately make a decision based on what the individual would have wanted. A health care proxy may be called to decide whether to prolong life, take away life support, or even request second and third opinions.
A proxy should be chosen for their trustworthiness as well as their ability to make difficult decisions quickly and thoughtfully. During medical emergencies, loved ones may not be able to make decisions outside of their emotions. A medical proxy must be able to look past that and make difficult decisions based on what they believe the individual would have wanted.
For over two decades, skilled estate planning lawyer Christine Matus and her law firm, the Matus Law Group, have dedicated their practice to families and planning for the future. To learn more about the Matus Law Group and their work, go to https://matuslaw.com/do-i-need-a-health-care-proxy/
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
For more than 20 years, The Matus Law Group has been advising residents of New Jersey in all matters of estate planning and special needs planning services for both children and adults.
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