Everyone can benefit from having certain protections in place, regarding of health status, income level or sexual orientation. Same-sex couples could benefit from making certain that they have strong estate plans in place, which should include a health care proxy in case one person becomes incapacitated.
In New York, husbands and wives have the protection of certain state laws that would allow one partner to make medical and financial decisions in the event that the other partner dies or becomes incapacitated. However, same-sex couples do not enjoy that same protection. LGBT couples would be wise to ensure that they have the proper documents in place, such as a health care proxy, in order to protect their interests in case of an emergency.
What is a health care proxy?
A health care proxy also goes by the name of durable power of attorney or health care surrogate. By establishing your partner as a health care proxy for you, you will be doing the following:
- This grants your partner the right and ability to make health care decisions on your behalf in case of incapacitation.
- This power would only go into effect in case you are unconscious or otherwise legally unable to make decisions for yourself.
- Before your designated proxy can make decisions for you, medical professionals will determine if you are cognitively and physically able to control the direction of your personal care.
It is impossible to predict the future, but you can control certain aspects of it. As a same-sex couple, you and your partner may find that you face certain unique challenges, but having a strong estate plan in place can help circumvent some complications and give you more control.
When it comes to your health care and your medical care in case of an emergency, you have the right to decide what happens to you. A health care proxy allows you to decide and keeps your care in the trusted hands of your partner.
Navigating the complexities of estate planning
There is no cookie-cutter estate plan, and if you do not have one, you have no time to lose in ensuring that you have the full protection of your interests in place. You may find it beneficial to explore the tools you need to ensure your security, which may include a health care proxy.
Everyone can benefit from a will, but for same-sex couples, it may be necessary to be extra careful regarding protecting finances, rights and future decisions.