Futterman, Lanza & Pasculli, LLP

How many copies of your health care proxy do you need?

Your health can have a considerable impact on various other aspects of your life. Therefore, you likely want to take the necessary steps to ensure that you take care of your health as best as possible. Of course, in the event of serious illness or injury, you may not have the ability to express your care desires on your own.

In the event of incapacitation, a health care proxy can provide useful information to necessary parties in charge of your care. This document appoints an agent to carry out your health care wishes in your stead as well as provide details about those wishes.

Who should have a copy of the document?

Because your health care proxy document holds such useful and vital information, you may want to distribute copies to pertinent parties. It may prove wise to create at least four copies of your document in order to have a copy for yourself, your health care agent, your medical care providers and any other parties you deem necessary.

Keeping your copy of the document in a safe but easily found location may help in the event that another person loses his or her copy or questions arise regarding the validity of another copy.

Giving a copy to your health care providers can ensure that they understand your wishes and who you have appointed as your agent. By having this information, your providers will know who they should speak with about your care in the event that you cannot make decisions for yourself.

Providing a copy to your agent also allows him or her to have the necessary information regarding your care wishes. By having an easily accessible copy, he or she could more quickly reference and become familiar with your view of care.

If you choose to make four or more copies, the additional documents could go to your backup agent - if you choose to appoint one - and any other family members or parties you deem permitted to have access to your information.

What if you update your document?

Most individuals consider it wise to review and update health care proxy information periodically. By doing so, you may avoid any unexpected complications arising from conflicting information. However, if you do update your document, you would need to provide the copies of the current document to the necessary parties, and if you choose, you could take the extra step of ensuring that outdated documents are destroyed.

Whether you want to just begin detailing your proxy information or need to make updates, you may find speaking with an experienced New York attorney helpful.

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