Insight

Factors to Consider When Naming a Health Care Agent

Factors to Consider When Naming a Health Care Agent

Anthony J. Enea

Anthony J. Enea

March 13, 2019 11:07 AM

Factors to Consider When Naming a Health Care Agent

By: Anthony J. Enea, Esq.

The Health Care Proxy (Proxy) is often a document given little attention by both attorneys and clients. Perhaps, the fact that the proxy form has over the last two to three decades become relatively ubiquitous is a significant factor. The proxy form is readily available on the internet, is also provided to all patients admitted to a hospital and is often available from one’s doctor.

Article 29-C of the New York Public Health Law is the statutory authority for the proxy. The proxy form allows one to designate another person to make all health care decisions if one is unable to do so.

The agent can decide whether or not you should receive treatment as well as the treatment you should receive. Additionally, the agent can determine what treatments you should not be provided and whether or not a treatment should be terminated. All the above can be done by the agent in accordance with any specifications stated in the proxy form or in accordance with your wishes that are known by your agent.

As is evident, the agent is in a position of great importance and authority. Thus, selecting someone, whether or not they are a member of your family, that will make decisions about your health care that are consistent with your wishes is of great importance. Some of the factors to consider when selecting an agent and alternate agent are as follows:

  • The age and health of the agent. Is the person selected likely to be alive at the time he or she needs to act and will he or she be mentally competent and in sufficient good health to make your health care decision? For example, while selecting one’s spouse is often a logical decision, if one’s spouse is 80 plus years of age and has his or her own health issues, it may not be a wise decision.
  • Is the agent someone I can trust to make difficult medical decisions relevant to my care and treatment? Are they astute in matters of medicine? Do they have any training in medicine or health care? While training in medicine or health care is not required, it may be a factor to consider when choosing one trusted individual over another.
  • Is the agent selected someone that is close to you and with whom you have previously discussed your wishes about medical treatment? Are their beliefs about end of life treatment consistent with your wishes? Do you feel that they will respect your wishes when faced with difficult decisions?
  • If you are going to select a family member (spouse, child or grandchild) as your agent, are they someone who will discuss your care and treatment with your other immediate family members? Will they try to reach a consensus as to the treatment or cessation thereof with your immediate family, or will they make decisions unilaterally and without any consultation?

Selecting someone who you trust who can make difficult medical decisions for you and who is able to communicate the medical options and treatments to other family members is great of importance.

In conclusion, selecting a health care agent is a decision that should not be given short shrift. It is one that requires a great amount of consideration.

Anthony J. Enea, Esq. is a member of Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP with offices in White Plains and Somers, NY. Mr. Enea is chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Senior Lawyers Section. He was named Best Lawyers’ 2019 Trusts and Estates “Lawyer of the Year” in White Plains and Westchester County’s Leading Elder Care Attorney at the Above the Bar Awards. Mr. Enea can be reached at 914-948-1500 or A.Enea@esslawfirm.com.

Related Articles

In the News: Texas 2019


by Best Lawyers

A roundup of relevant news from lawyers listed in Texas.

Legal News Roundup Texas

Health Care Prime


by Andrew Kinworthy, Jonathan K. Henderson, Kevin McDonell and Robert A. Guy, Jr.

How will M&A shape the American health industry going forward? By adhering to the Amazon model.

Health Care on Demand

The Power of Two


by Dale Van Demark and Kerrin B. Slattery

More health care companies than ever see the value of robust partnerships in a constantly changing industry.

Health Care and the Private Sector

Insurance Coverage to Protect the Health Care Industry from the Increasing Risks Associated with the Internet of Things


by Meghan Magruder and Amy Dehnel

While this connectivity can provide great benefits to patients and physicians, the security issues inherent in these devices are critical.

Insurance for Health Care Industry

Ellen G. Makofsky, 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" for Elder Law


by Nicole Ortiz

Ellen G. Makofsky of Makofsky and Associates was named 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" in Long Island for Elder Law.

Ellen G. Makofsky LOTY

Anthony J. Enea, 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" for Elder Law


by Nicole Ortiz

Anthony J. Enea of Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP was named 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" in White Plains for Elder Law.

Anthony J. Enea LOTY

The New Era for Health Care Services in the United States


by Bobby Guy & Brook Bailey

The future of Obamacare is unclear, and what U.S. health care will look like when the political fuss is over is an inquiry punctuated by a very large question mark.

Health Care Services

Public Health Reform: What does the future look like for patients?


by Vanessa Mellis

Increased government stewardship and a stronger user orientation are two of the key elements shaping this process.

Public Health Reform

Protect Your Pets: Westchester Elder Law Attorney Anthony Enea Explains How to Provide for Pets in an Estate Plan


by Anthony J. Enea

Along with pet ownership comes the responsibility of ensuring your companion animal's care and well-being - even if that extends beyond your lifetime.

Elder Law - Pets Estate Plan

Trending Articles

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

2021 Best Lawyers: The Global Issue


by Best Lawyers

The 2021 Global Issue features top legal talent from the most recent editions of Best Lawyers and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch worldwide.

2021 Best Lawyers: The Global Issue

The U.S. Best Lawyers Voting Season Is Open


by Best Lawyers

The voting season for the 31st edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and the 5th edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America is officially underway, and we are offering some helpful advice to this year’s voters.

Golden figures of people standing on blue surface connected by white lines

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2024 Launch


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce The Best Lawyers in Australia™ for 2023, including the top lawyers and law firms from Australia.

Australian Parliament beside water at sunset

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power


by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

Inflation Escalation


by Ashley S. Wagner

Inflation and rising costs are at the forefront of everyone’s mind as we enter 2023. The current volatile market makes it more important than ever to understand the rent escalation clauses in current and future commercial lease agreements.

Suited figure in front of rising market and inflated balloon

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

The Upcycle Conundrum


by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

A Celebration of Excellence: The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024 Awards


by Best Lawyers

As we embark on the 18th edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™, we are excited to highlight excellence and top legal talent across the country.

Abstract image of red and white Canada flag in triangles

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

IN PARTNERSHIP

Bentley & More LLP: Beacon of Hope


by Bentley & More

With a unique blend of expertise in trial advocacy and workers’ compensation, Bentley & More LLP has established itself as a beacon of hope for injured workers.

Bentley & More LLP: Beacon of Hope for Injured Employees

8 Different Types of Criminal Defenses in Law


by Best Lawyers

Learn about the different types of criminal defenses available in law, including innocence, self-defense, insanity and more. Protect your rights today.

Silver handcuffs laying on finger printed papers