The Health Care Proxy Springs Alive
The Health Care Proxy “springs alive” if a physician states in the medical records that the patient is unable to decide or communicate the patient’s health care decisions. In that situation, the named agent makes the health care decisions on behalf of the patient. Without a Proxy, a Guardianship proceeding must be filed in probate court.
A guardianship preceding in probate court is expensive, time consuming, and stressful. The spouse, child, family member, or neighbor etc. (“The Petitioner”) must file a petition in probate court seeking to become guardian of the person who is unable to make health care decisions. A physician must sign a certificate stating that the person lacks sufficient mental capacity to make health care decisions. The Petitioner must go to court at the beginning of the Guardianship and every time a major medical decision must be made in order to receive court approval.
It is important that everybody 18 and older sign a Health care Proxy to avoid this mess.