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Taking care of your health care with a health care proxy

It is impossible to know and control the future, but there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you have protected your interests for the months and years ahead. You may know that you could benefit from a will and other estate planning tools, but you would be prudent to consider a health care proxy as part of your plan.

With a health care proxy, you can have more control over your health care in the event that you face incapacitation due to illness or injury. New Jersey readers may know that a health care proxy may also go by the name of durable medical power of attorney or health care surrogate.

How does a health care proxy work? 

You may not know what health-related challenges you could face in the future, but you can certainly work to ensure the carrying out of your wishes and preferences. This can provide you and your family a measure of peace, as well as prevent loved ones from having to make extremely difficult decisions on your behalf. Here is what you may need to know about your health care proxy:

  • With this document, you will be able appoint a person to act on your behalf in case you are not able to speak for yourself.
  • You have the right to appoint alternate proxies in the event that your first choice is unavailable.
  • Before a proxy can act on your behalf, a medical professional will have to declare you medically unable to think, act or speak for yourself.

There are many things to consider when drafting a health care proxy. You may wish to carefully think through the individuals you may wish to have this important role, your religious beliefs and other pertinent matters.

A health care proxy is beneficial, but you may also consider the addition of a living will. This document allows you to leave very specific instructions regarding types of medical treatment and more.

The right estate plan for you

No two estate plans are the same. Yours should suit your specific objectives and match your needs. If you do not have a health care proxy or other tools needed to complete your estate plan, you have no time to lose in getting the right protections in place.

A bit of planning and preparation in the present can save you and your loved ones from significant stress and difficulty in the future. It is your body, and with a health care proxy, you have a measure of control regarding what happens to it.

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