sick old man in bed

It’s not a pleasant scenario, but still one worth thinking about: You become sick one day, so sick that you’re incapacitated, unable to speak for yourself.

In that situation, who will make medical decisions on your behalf?

That’s where a healthcare proxy comes in.

This is someone you appoint to act as your agent in making medical decisions, ensuring your wishes are carried out.

This person will be particularly important if you and your family disagree about medical treatment. Without a healthcare proxy, your doctor may end up treating you in a way you would have otherwise refused.

Healthcare proxies typically take effect only in situations where you need medical treatment and a doctor concludes you can’t communicate your wishes.

The rules governing proxies can depend on the laws of your state and the terms of the proxy itself. If you eventually become able to advocate on your own behalf, it’s your wishes the doctors will listen to, and the proxy will have no effect.

If you’re interested in creating a document to name a health care proxy, contact Gummer Elder Law. Our lawyers have spent years helping clients make sure their wishes are carried out.