Revoking a Health Care Proxy

An appointed health care agent stands in your shoes and makes important medical decisions for you with your doctors about your medical treatment and may even stop life sustaining measures if there is no hope of recovery. If you feel that this person is no longer the right person to act as your agent you may want to revoke your agent's authority to speak on your behalf. There are several ways a client can revoke a health care proxy.

New York's Public Health Law section 2985 lists the following:

  • A competent adult (and all adults are presumed competent unless there is a contrary court order) may revoke a health care proxy by notifying the agent or a health care provider:
    a. orally, or
    b. in writing, or
    c. by any other act evidencing a specific intent to revoke the proxy.
  • The execution of a new health care proxy supplants an older one.
  • Upon a divorce or legal separation, a health care proxy appointing the former spouse shall be revoked unless the principal otherwise specifies.

Public Health Law section 2985 also imposes a duty upon a physician who is informed of or provided with a revocation of a health care proxy to immediately (i) record the revocation in the principal's medical record and (ii) notify the agent and the medical staff responsible for the principal's care of the revocation. The law further requires that any staff member of a health care provider informed of or provided with a revocation of a health care proxy pursuant to this section shall immediately notify a physician of such revocation. A health care provider is defined as, "an individual or facility licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized or permitted by law to administer health care in the ordinary course of business or professional practice. i"

Aaron E. Futterman, CPA, Esq. is a partner in the law firm of Futterman & Lanza, LLP with offices in Smithtown, NY and clients throughout Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Richmond, New York, Westchester and Rockland Counties. He concentrates his practice to Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Applications, Estate Planning, Probate, Estate Taxes, and Estate Administration.

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