The Witecki Law Office
Witecki Law Office - Photos
space space space space space space
space

Living Will and Health Care Proxy

Question: What is a Living Will?

Answer: A Living Will is a written or oral statement of your wishes, instructions and limitations concerning the kinds and duration of medical diagnosis and treatment you want to receive, should you become incapable of personally expressing those wishes at the time of diagnosis and treatment. It is always better to express those wishes clearly and in writing, so as to eliminate any uncertainty.

___________________________________________________________________________

Question: Does a Living Will take effect as soon as I sign it?

Answer:Yes and No. A Living Will is valid as soon as it is signed. However, the provisions of your Living Will take effect or "activate" if and only if you become unable to personally express your wishes about your health care treatment. So long as you are able to understand the nature and consequences of health care decisions, including the benefits, risks and alternatives to any proposed diagnosis and treatment, and to reach an informed deliberative decision about what you want to do, your doctors and other health care providers will discuss your treatment options directly with you, so that you can give them your informed consent about what types of treatment you do or do not want. Your Living Will takes effect or "activates" if and only if you are unable to make those informed decisions for yourself, at the time that treatment is being considered.

___________________________________________________________________________

Question: What is a Health Care Proxy, and how does it relate to a Living Will?

Answer: Any competent adult can sign a Health Care Proxy, which is a written document by which you name an"Agent" to express your desires, wishes and preferences to doctors and other health care providers in the event you are unable to express them for yourself. As with a Living Will, a health Care Proxy is recognized and "activated" if and only if you are unable to express your own wishes at the time a particular treatment or test may be appropriate. Your agent cannot express your wishes concerning "artificial nutrition and hydration" unless there is clear evidence that your agent knows your wishes about such matters. Your agent may not substitute his or her own judgment and choice in place of yours, but must follow your wishes, if they are known to him, and if they are not known, your agent must act in your "best interest".Therefore, it is important to thoroughly discuss different diagnosis and treatment possibilities with your agent, so they understand your wishes as fully as possible, especially as they concern the treatment of terminal illness, and your thoughts about whether you wish to be kept alive in a "persistent vegetative state", with no reasonable chance of your recovery. As you can see, a Living Will and Health Care Proxy are closely linked. For that reason in this office, we generally combine the two and include both of them in a single document.

space  

 

The Witecki Law Office
8 South Church Street
Schenectady, NY 12035
[directions]

 
space
Licensed in New York State
       
sitemap