Healthcare Proxies and Medical Directives in Massachusetts
A Healthcare Proxy is a person whom you have chosen to make important medical decisions in the event that you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to communicate your wishes. Oftentimes people choose a family member or a close, trusted friend to act on their behalf. This person ensures that your wishes concerning healthcare are carried out, which is especially helpful if you and your family members disagree about appropriate treatment.
A Healthcare Proxy becomes effective only when you require medical treatment and are unable to communicate with your physician. If you are later determined to be able to express your wishes, the Healthcare Proxy loses its power until you lose capacity again or die.
“A well-written health care proxy can save a family the expense, time, and cost of a guardianship proceeding in the probate court.”
Personalized Healthcare Proxy
It is important to have a Healthcare Proxy document rather than to rely on the generic forms available at hospitals so that you can not only appoint a particular person, but also provide detailed instructions or guidance as to the medical decision-making. Having a separate document tailored to your needs allows you to:
- appoint alternate Healthcare Proxies
- indicate the circumstances under which you want certain medicines or life-saving treatments
- specify your desired form of burial
- dictate any other special instructions or wishes.
If certain powers are not expressly detailed your caregivers may still find themselves in a Massachusetts Probate court seeking authority under a guardianship petition.
A Healthcare Proxy document is sometimes compared to a Living Will. However, a Living Will is created to specifically establish your wishes as to life-prolonging treatments in the event of a terminal illness. A Healthcare Proxy and a Living Will go hand in hand to provide better security for your plans for the future. Read more about Living Wills.