How To Use a Health Care Proxy
When is a health care proxy used?
Health care proxies become most important when you can’t make decisions on your own, for example when you’re unconscious or if you’ve lost your mental capabilities. They only become effective when you are no longer are able to make decisions or you cannot communicate for yourself.
When does your health care proxy become active?
Enactment of the health care proxy is not done until your doctor certifies in writing that you are “unable to make or communicate your own healthcare decisions.” If your doctor later determines you have regained the ability to make your own health care decisions, the health care agent’s authority to make decisions for you ends.
Can I use my power of attorney for health care in a different state if I live in more than one state?
As long as your home state’s power of attorney for health care satisfies the laws of the other state, it will be valid. If you spend time in multiple states, it is recommended that you have a power of attorney for health care for each state. Gentreo is working to make a form that works for you in all 50 states as most states do not require a specific form, but rather that your form is witnessed by the correct number of witnesses who are of a valid age per that state. If you have a Texas directive to physicians and family or surrogates it is not necessarily the same as a Virginia advance directive for health care. But, if you have a power of attorney for health care or health care advance directive, it is most often applicable in other states. In some instances, the state in which you did not create the power of attorney for health care or advance directive may limit what your form can do, if what you want to do is not legal in that state.
When is it too late to fill out a health care proxy?
If you become incapacitated or no longer mentally capable of making decisions, a health care proxy cannot be completed. If you have no health care proxy and become incapacitated, a legal court process becomes necessary and your personal decisions are now in the control of lawyers and judges.
How often should I change my health care proxy?
Review your health care proxy regularly. We at Gentreo recommend once per year to make sure the names, addresses and telephone numbers of your health care agent and alternate are current, and that your health care agent and alternate are still willing to serve.