Imagine you were in a horrible accident or suddenly became ill. You’re fragile and unable to make critical decisions about your health. What would happen next?

Nobody likes thinking about such dire scenarios. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. One of the best ways to proactively plan for the worst is by choosing a health care proxy. This is a person who can step in and make important medical decisions on your behalf.

When should I choose a proxy?

In New York, you can choose a proxy if you’re 18 or older. It’s smart to make this decision as soon as you can. Even as a young adult, appointing a proxy can put your mind at ease. As you grow older, it becomes even more important.

How do I choose the right person?

It can be challenging to select your proxy. You may love your sister, but can she make a split-second decision? Your husband might be very intelligent, but will his emotions prevent him from thinking clearly about your needs? There are many factors to contemplate. A few questions you should ask yourself when considering potential proxies are:

  • Will they fully respect your wishes?
  • Will they be comfortable asking doctors and nurses hard questions?
  • Will they ask for clarification when needed?
  • Will they be able to make fast-paced, difficult decisions?
  • Will they advocate for you if needed?

Can I choose more than one proxy?

In New York State, you can only appoint one acting health care proxy at a time. A health care proxy that appoints co-agents with simultaneous authority would be invalid in New York, even if it was executed in another states that allows for the appointment of co-agents. On the other hand, you can & should always name an successor agent. This is a person who can step up if your primary agent is no longer willing or able to serve.

You don’t want to leave your loved ones without direction if something bad were to happen to you. Therefore, it’s imperative that you pick your proxy as soon as possible – and secure it in writing.