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Hudson Valley Advance Directives Attorney

Ensuring the Success of Your Healthcare Wishes

Advance directives are legally valid instructions to ensure your wishes are carried out if you become incapacitated. New York State recognizes two types of advance directive that will protect your medical rights. Our attorneys at Letterio & Haug, LLP can help you construct either type to ensure your document is legally sound and enforceable.

For a legal consultation, call our Hudson Valley firm at (845) 203-0997.

Living Wills

The first, and oldest, type of advance directive is known as a living will. This document allows you to state your medical care wishes in the event you develop an irreversible medical condition that prevents you from stating these decisions. A living will becomes effective if you are:

  • terminally ill;
  • permanently unconscious; or
  • minimally conscious (i.e. you have brain damage so severe you will never recover the ability to make decisions).

New York does not have any specific laws recognizing living wills but replies upon clear evidence of your wishes. For this reason, it’s imperative that your living will be as specific and clear as possible. You must sign a living will in the presence of a witness in order to ensure it is legally binding.

An attending physician has the power to carry out the directive to their own interpretation. A friend or family member who may know the exact wishes has no legal standing to interpret the meaning of the directive or instruct the physician on the meaning of the document.

Health Care Proxies

The second type of advanced directive is called a health care proxy. This allows you to name someone you trust as the person who makes health care decisions on your behalf. The person appointed as your agent must be willing to speak on your behalf and make health care choices that you would choose yourself. Under New York law, this directive will go into effect after two physicians have examined you and determined that you cannot make decisions on your own.

A health care proxy can either be temporary or permanent. A temporary proxy is generally created before a person undergoes outpatient surgery that requires anesthesia. The person in charge of making decisions would be responsible for any quick actions if an issue arises. A permanent proxy is best for the elderly or someone who has been diagnosed with a debilitating disease.

Do Not Resuscitate

A ‘do not resuscitate order’ (DNR) may also be considered an advance directive. Usually, hospital staff will try and revive any patient whose heart has stopped beating. However, if you create a DNR document, the staff will respect your wishes. All doctors and hospitals accept a DNR and it doesn’t have to be part of your advance directive. However, you should seek the counsel of an attorney to help you make the order as clear as possible.

Compassionate Advance Directive Lawyers

At Letterio & Haug, LLP, we understand the situation surrounding your advance directive may be sensitive. We provide sympathetic and practical legal counsel and will help you create a specific and clear advance directive.

Contact our firm online or call us at (845) 203-0997 for a legal appointment.

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