Here is a brief synopsis on New York’s Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA ) which greatly simplifies how we can appoint people to make critical decisions in our lives. Here’s a bit of a background on the law
•Went into effect June 1, 2010. Leaves in place (i) laws that allow for the appointment of legal guardians and (ii) the health care proxy law (which allows a patient to appoint a health care agent to make health care decisions in the event the patient loses the capacity to do so).
Here are the steps to follow
Step 1 – Can the patient make his/ her own decision? If yes, then the FHCDA does not apply
Step 2 – If no, we ask if is there a legal guardian or health care proxy? If yes, then the FHCDA does not apply
Step 3 – If there is no legal guardian or health care proxy, then the FHCDA does apply and it specifies who has legal authority to make health care decisions, using the following surrogate list (in list of priority)
- • Spouse or domestic partner.
- • Adult child.
- • Parent.
- • Sibling.
- • Close adult friend or relative familiar with the patient’s views about health care.
Gary Elias, one of Manhattan’s top elder attorneys and a partner of Lifestream Elder Associates, and I are currently doing presentations on this topic to many hospital social work departments, senior centers and houses of worship.
If you have any legal questions on these laws or any legal issues regarding elder law, please contact Gary Elias at LifeStream Senior Care 160 East 84th Street New York, N.Y. 10028 (212) 585-4407 www.lifestreameldercare.com Lifestrm@aol.com
Christian and Claudia