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Do I really need a health care proxy?

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2021 | Estate Planning

We all like to think that we’ll be hale and hearty until the end of our days. For many of us, just thinking about becoming terminally ill, being in a serious accident, or losing ourselves to a degenerative disease can be too much to bear. Sadly, though, ongoing good health might not be realistic, particularly during these uncertain times. It’s entirely possible that we will need medical intervention for an emergent condition at some point in our lives.

If we’re lucky, we will be awake and alert enough to provide feedback to our doctors concerning treatment, and we can communicate choices that direct our care. Other times that isn’t the case and another person might need to make decisions for us. This person is known as a health care proxy.

An important part of your estate plan

While your attorney prepares your estate plan, he or she can help you understand how an advance directive and health care proxy can work for you. These documents are key parts of a comprehensive Massachusetts estate plan. They protect you in the event of your incapacity, allowing you to fully document your wishes ahead of time. Your appointed health care proxy can use the instructions provided in your advance directive to discuss treatment protocols with your medical providers, ensuring that you get the care you want and deserve.

If you don’t have a health care proxy appointed and you become incapacitated, there is a good chance that you will have to go through the process of having a guardian appointed by the probate court. This is a complicated procedure and it can take time, during which your medical care is at the whim of your medical team instead of a loved one. They might, for example, end up taking heroic action to resuscitate you when you would have preferred to pass unaided.

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