An elder law guide to being a healthcare proxy

Being named healthcare proxy (also known as healthcare agent or representative) means taking on a serious role with significant responsibilities in someone’s life. Before you consent to taking on these responsibilities, it’s important to know exactly what your duties would be and how to perform them. Here’s a helpful guide from a leading elder law attorney in New Jersey.

What is a healthcare proxy? 

A healthcare proxy is someone who is authorized to participate in and make medical decisions on the behalf of an individual, usually a family member, spouse or close friend, in the event that they can no longer do so for themselves.

What are the duties of a healthcare proxy? 

Your duties and responsibilities are outlined in a legal document known as a healthcare or medical directive. The person that you will be acting as healthcare proxy for will include various wishes and guidelines for possible medical scenarios, for example, whether or not they would like to receive advanced lifesaving measures in certain circumstances or whether they have a Do Not Resuscitate clause.

Some of the types of responsibilities you will be expected to take on include:

  • Receiving the same medical information as the individual you are acting as proxy for.
  • Meeting with medical teams and staff to discuss treatment.
  • Consenting to or refusing medical tests, procedures, surgeries and so forth.
  • Consenting to or refusing advanced life-saving or life-sustaining treatments.
  • Authorizing transfers between facilities.
  • Requesting second opinions or specialist opinions if needed.

Understanding the needs of your loved one 

While this role may sound intimidating, it’s important to remember that the aim of a medical directive and a healthcare proxy is to protect the health and wellbeing of your loved one. Ultimately, your job is to make sure that your loved one’s medical wishes are honored and that their quality of life is prioritized.

Speak to an elder law attorney for advice today 

If you would like to draw up your own medical directive, don’t hesitate to speak to Frank R. Campisano today. Experienced in elder law, compassionate and committed to his clients, you’ll receive the highest quality legal expertise and guidance in creating this important document. In addition, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney documents and trusts. For a free consultation, please contact us today or visit our website at

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