An advanced health care directive is a legal document that allows you to state how health care decisions will be made for you when you are not able to do so yourself. In New York State, there are three types—a health care proxy, a living will, and a do not resuscitate order or DNR. It is important to have a directive as your wishes will be followed regarding how you will be treated or cared for if you are not able to make these important decisions for yourself. 

A health care proxy allows you to appoint someone to make decisions for you if you are not capable of doing so for yourself. This becomes effective when at least two doctors decide that you are not capable of making your own decisions. One reason why a health care proxy is important is that you are able to pick someone who you trust to make life care decisions for you.

A do not resuscitate order is prepared by a doctor, and it tells health care professionals not to resuscitate you or, in other words, not to perform CPR or any other procedures that may save your life if your heart stops beating or you are no longer breathing.

A living will sets forth specific instructions on how you should be treated when you are not able to take care of yourself. Before this becomes effective, a doctor must indicate that you have a condition that is not curable.

Even though you prepare one of these documents now, you will continue to make your own health care decision. Once you are unable to do so, your wishes will be followed as per the directive you have chosen. If you do not want someone to make decisions for you such as in a health care proxy, then you can set forth how you should be treated as per a living will. You can even have a combination, like a health care proxy, with a living will as this will tell the person who you chose to make decisions for you, and they will have clear written instructions regarding treatment.

Jayson Lutzky gives free consultations and can be reached at 718-329-9500. He has been practicing law for over 36 years in the Bronx, and he can help you with your legal matter. Due to COVID-19, he is available by telephone or by Zoom Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. Regular business hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm with the last appointment at 4pm, and Saturday from 10am to 2pm, with the last appointment at 1pm.