Health Care Proxy/Living Will

Not looking for legal advice, I think - but…I live in New York State. I want my daughter to have my living will and health care proxy. I would like to know where to get these forms - online? and I would like to know if I need to involve a lawyer? If you have gotten these forms and appointed someone to make medical decisions, what did you do?


Hospitals have those forms. Just ask at the administration office. Whether they need to be notarized or wiehessedl varies from state to state, but the hospital will know how to be i n compliance.

OK, thanks. I think I remember the doctors office had them, too, next time I go I’ll ask.

Here is a page from the New York State Department of Health explaining the Health Care Proxy laws and linking to forms and guidance booklets.

There is generally no need to involve a lawyer to prepare a health care proxy/living will.

That’s what I was hoping to find, thanks.

I got the forms from my PCP, then went over them with him once they were filled out. Interestingly, we are the same age (55) and he mentioned that he has the same level of nonintervention.

Aren’t the two (Living Will and Health Care Proxy) mutually exclusive? Not sure you can have both. My understanding is that a “living will” lays out the actions you want health care professionals to take in certain hypothetical medical situations, based upon your wishes. The “health care proxy” is you granting to someone else the power of attorney to make those decisions on your behalf, in the event you are incapacitated.

These matters are largely regulated on a state by state basis. And because the USA is still very squeamish about death, many states have very specific rules about what is and is not acceptable. Some states will not accept final directives written in the exact mandatory wording demanded by the state next door.

So any advice given here MUST be specific to the OP’s state of residence.

In the specific states where my wife practices this sort of law (which does NOT include NY), your assertion that these items are mutually exclusive is incorrect.

Instead, the two documents are mutually reinforcing. The “living will” lays out your desires so everyone, including your proxy, knows what you want. And the proxy document formally appoints a specific person so there’s no doubt about who will actually make the decision and accept responsibility for the consequences when the time comes.

Recognize that even the best-written living will cannot address the specifics of every situation. It’s more an indication of your desired decision-making policy than a record of a checklist-like series of concrete fact-specific decisions made by you.

In some states, again due to legislative squeamishness (read as "religious conservativeness (conservativity?)), certain choices are not permitted to be made and any final directive incorporating a forbidden choice is null & void as a matter of law. So if your actual desire is forbidden, you end up choosing the least-bad approved choice and hoping your proxy is persuasive enough to carry the day if that situation arises.

Only if the proxy is not contactable in time does the medical industry act directly on the living will instructions of their own initiative. Assuming they have access to them at the time.