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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

What is a Living Will? What is a Health Care Proxy?

What is a Living Will?

A living will is a legal document that details an individual’s wishes per their medical treatment, in times they cannot communicate consent, while they are alive. Also known as an advance directive or declaration, this outlines what a person would want done in a certain medical situation. Examples of such situations can include medical treatment in the event of terminal illness, unconsciousness, mental incompetence and or/trauma. Living wills help to ensure the preferences and desires of the target patient are met in order to provide them the most personalized care. It also removes the burden of making a difficult decision that could fall upon a loved one.

In addition, living wills can spell out other instructions, such as organ donation and medication use. This is an important and effective way to guarantee that your wishes are followed. However, the living will is void after death. Substantive decisions are then left to the deceased’s estate administrator or attorney-in-fact.

Many health care providers offer these forms, along with a plethora of online resources that make the process simple and electronic. Furthermore, an attorney could be used to draft your living will for you.

What is a health care proxy?

A health care proxy is a legal document, another type of advanced directive, in which a patient designates a specific party to make medical decisions on their behalf in times of incapacitation. Choosing this agent will help ensure your health care decisions are made by a trusted and informed individual.

You are able to include instructions in your proxy and your agent is obligated to follow your wishes as executed in the proxy, unless there is reason to believe your wishes have changed. If you do not include advanced decisions, the agent will make those choices.

Changing your agent is permitted and relatively uncomplicated, along with amending any stipulation included in the document.

The New York State Department of Health makes it easy for anyone to complete this form online. You do not need an attorney to appoint a health care proxy.


About Leitner Varughese PLLC

Leitner Varughese PLLC is a cutting-edge litigation and trial law firm uniquely experienced in handling high-profile, complex lawsuits involving serious injuries and wrongful death. The Firm has vast experience in handling cases involving serious injuries caused by:

• Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect • Medical Malpractice • Construction Accidents • Motor Vehicle Accidents • Trip / Slip & Fall Accidents • Labor Law Violations • Negligent Premises Security • Products Liability • Defective Drugs

Leitner Varughese attorneys are routinely heralded as preeminent trial lawyers by nationally acclaimed organizations including the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, American Academy of Trial Attorneys Premier 100, Rue Ratings Best Attorneys in America, America’s Top 100 Attorneys, and National Academy of Jurisprudence Premier 100 Trial Attorneys.

The attorneys at Leitner Varughese are routinely called upon to handle high-profile and newsworthy cases, many of which have been featured in news and media outlets, including the New York Law Journal, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, Channel 7 Eyewitness News, CBS News, Best of Long Island Press, Newsday, News 12, the LI Herald, and FIOS 1, amongst others.

In just the past few years, Leitner Varughese attorneys have facilitated in the recovery of over $100 million on behalf of clients that were injured because of car and truck accidents, construction accidents (involving New York State Labor Law violations), slip/trip and falls, and defective pharmaceuticals, including the recovery of over $50 million alone in verdicts and settlements on behalf of the victims of nursing home neglect and abuse.

For more information about Leitner Varughese PLLC or to be a part of our team, please contact us at (855) LV LAW NY (855-585-2969), or visit our website at

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