Handling Health Care Proxies in Massachusetts
What Is a Health Care Proxy & How Important Is it?
A health care proxy is a legal document in which you choose someone you know and trust to make health care decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make those decisions yourself. Under the Health Care Proxy Law, any competent adult 18 years of age or older may use this form to appoint a health care agent.
You can appoint any adult except the administrator, operator, or employee of a health care facility, such as a hospital or nursing home where you are a patient or resident, unless that person is also related to you by blood, marriage or adoption.
At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., our attorneys and legal staff work to help our clients understand proxies and the benefits they offer. Contact our offices online today.
If you are uncertain whether you need a health care proxy we can help you to understand the benefits of having one so you can make a decision. Our Massachusetts estate planning lawyer thoroughly understands the law around these documents and can assist you in creating important documents as part of your comprehensive estate plan.
Can I Change My Mind?
Your health care proxy can be revoked when one of the following four things happens:
- You legally separate from or divorce your spouse who is named in the proxy as your agent.
- You sign another health care proxy later on in time.
- You do anything else that clearly shows you want to revoke the proxy, for example, tearing up or destroying the proxy, crossing it out, telling other people, etc.
- You notify your agent, your doctor, or other health care provider, orally or in writing, that you want to revoke your health care proxy.
What Can My Health Care Agent Do?
Your health care agent will essentially step into your shoes and make decisions you would have made for yourself about your health care when you are unable to do that yourself. With your authority, your health care agent can make any health care decision that you could if you were able. If given full authority to act on your behalf, your health care agent can refuse or consent to any medical treatment, including treatment that could keep you alive.
Your health care agent will make choices for you only after consulting with your doctor and after fully considering all the options available regarding prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment of your illness or condition. Additionally, your health care agent has the legal authority to obtain information, including private medical information, essential to make knowledgeable decisions for you.
To schedule a free consultation in one of our offices in Burlington or Methuen, please call us today at (781) 262-3338.
- Massachusetts Law About Health Care Proxies and Living Wills
- Chapter 201D : Health Care Proxies - Massachusetts Legislature