It is always a good idea for anyone over the age of 18 to have a healthcare proxy, including college-bound children. A healthcare proxy is a legal document that allows someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make those decisions for yourself.
College students may not think they need a healthcare proxy because they are generally young and healthy, but accidents and unexpected illnesses can happen to anyone. Having a healthcare proxy in place can ensure that your child’s wishes regarding medical treatment are respected and that they receive the care they want if they are unable to communicate their wishes themselves.
In New York State, a healthcare proxy is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make those decisions for yourself. This person is known as your healthcare agent or proxy.
When your child signs a healthcare proxy, they will need to choose a healthcare agent who they trust to make decisions about their medical treatment if they are unable to do so themselves. This person can be a family member, friend, or anyone else who they trust to make decisions on their behalf. It’s important to choose someone who is willing to take on this responsibility and who understands your child’s wishes regarding medical treatment.
Once your child has chosen a healthcare agent, they should discuss their wishes regarding medical treatment with that person. This can include decisions about end-of-life care, life-sustaining treatments, and other important medical decisions. It’s important to have these conversations early on so that everyone is clear about your child’s wishes if they are ever unable to communicate them themselves.
It’s also a good idea to have a backup healthcare agent in case the first person is unable or unwilling to serve as your child’s healthcare proxy.
Once the healthcare proxy is signed, it should be distributed to your child’s healthcare providers, as well as to family members and others who may need to know about your child’s medical wishes.
It’s important to note that New York State has specific requirements for healthcare proxies to be valid. If you’d like to work with us, Roth Elder Law, PLLC would be happy to start that conversation. Call us today to schedule an initial meeting at 607-962-6162 or complete this intake form and we’ll be in touch.