Children who are faced with medical decisions have their parents to act as decision makers in the process. When a person turns 18 years old, however, the parent’s right to make medical decisions for the child isn’t necessarily a given right. In New York, anyone over 18 who is mentally competent has the right to decide who can make medical decisions for them.

While advance care directives are usually associated with the elderly and aging population, even young adults can benefit from having these directives in place. One of the most important decisions of an advance directive is deciding who will be in charge of making medical decisions if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. The person you give this responsibility to is known as your health care proxy.

In New York, your health care proxy will have to make sure that your wishes are followed because a living will isn’t legally binding in the state. Your health care proxy should know your wishes about resuscitation and other medical treatments.

When you name a health care proxy, you should choose someone who can make difficult decision that are in your best interest. The person might have to make these during emotionally charged times.

By naming a health care proxy, you aren’t turning over your decision making rights to the person unless you are considered incompetent. In order to be considered incompetent, two doctors must say that you can’t make decisions on your own.

Creating a comprehensive advance directive might be a bit challenging. Seeking the advice of an estate planning attorney might help you to learn ways that you can ensure your wishes are followed and your affairs are handled properly.

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal, “Senior News: Decide who will make your medical decisions” Mary Kaye Dolan-Anderson, Mar. 08, 2014