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A health care proxy document is written instruction by a person, referred to as the Principal, who appoints a health care Agent, or Proxy Agent, to make medical or health decisions when the Principal is incapacitated and unable to make or communicate such decisions. Under a durable power of attorney, your Agent is authorized to make business and financial decisions for you in accordance with your wishes. This person cannot, however, make decisions about your health or health care. You must make a separate authorization in a health care proxy document. Your health care Agent could be the same person you have named as your Agent in your durable power of attorney document, or, you could name a different person, based on different factors that do not involve financial matters.
Every person has the right to accept or decline medical care, and, so long as you are able to communicate to a medical authority your wishes, those wishes must be honored. If you are unable to communicate your wishes, your Agent, given authority by you in a health care proxy document, will be able to make medical decisions for you, for as long as you are unable to do so. You must be unable to communicate your wishes before the Agent’s authority becomes effective. If you regain the ability to communicate your wishes, the authority of the Proxy Agent ceases.
You should select a person whom you trust to follow your wishes as to what medical care you want and what medical care you do not want. You should select a trusted person who will make medical care decisions for you based on your wishes and values.
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