Healthcare Proxies and Living Wills

Best to get this set up now as otherwise control will default to your legal family for medical decisionmaking when you are incapacitated. (The legal ranking is generally legal spouse if applicable, then any living parents/guardians if applicable, then any children who are 18+ years old, then legally recognized siblings.) Especially for people who have a clear sense of who they would want making decisions for them, it is good to do this legally. This structure exists quite outside of marriage etc – you can give control to your roommate, your best friend, etc. It is highly recommended to talk to your person about what you want and why it’s important to you, and make sure they understand and are on board and ready to advocate for you — in addition to making them your healthcare power of attorney and, if you want, documenting your wishes.

How this works in different states is outside my scope of knowledge – what’s up federalism! – but this is one way of making strong paperwork and again, exists for lots of reasons (ie, elderly people who want their children to make decisions for them.) If you follow the link below, whatever you find locally will have knowledge of the details for your location.

A power of attorney grants someone the right to make decisions, and is usually granted on things like bank accounts etc. Including a POA in a living will is way of ensuring if you’re unable to use your money, someone else who you trust can use it on your behalf/as you want it used, while you are alive. has a link to a “search” button that can bring up other local options.

MoAtLaw has a great overview, although some information is NY-specific.

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