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What are health care proxies?

When people are writing their wills or living trusts, they are wise to think about any possible scenario that might arise after their death or during their lifetime when they might become incapacitated or of ill health. They naturally will want to prepare as much as possible for all scenarios, so that they can be in control of their future and the future of their assets.

In fulfilling this goal of preparing for the future, powers of attorney are created for the purpose of guaranteeing proper health care. These are often referred to as "health care proxies," "health care surrogates" and "durable medical powers of attorneys."

When creating a health care proxy, you appoint a person that you trust, otherwise known as the attorney of your trust or will, to be able to make decisions on behalf of you in regard to your health care. This might come into effect if you are in a coma or because you have become mentally incapacitated in some way.

There is much flexibility on how you want to go about drafting a health care proxy. There are standard forms that can be filled in; however, if you deem it necessary, you may want to request that your lawyer drafts one that is tailored to your specific circumstances. This might be especially true if you have an existing medical condition.

If you are considering creating a health care proxy or another type of power of attorney, it is important that you conduct as much research as possible into the matter so that you can be informed as to the best path to take.

Source: American bar, "Health care proxies," accessed Oct. 20, 2017

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