Attorney Mayo Talks Law - Health Care Proxies: Grounds for Caution!

A matter of trust...
Jonathan D. Mayo, Esq.

Welcome back to "Attorney Mayo Talks Law"

Now many of us are familiar with Massachusetts' Healthcare Proxy forms. They authorize a trusted party to make all medical decisions for someone who is incapacitated. But unless the party appointing a proxy makes specific exclusions to the proxy power, that power includes decisions to terminate life support , refuse life-saving treatment, or to issue "Do Not Resuscitate" orders, ("DNRs").

Imagine the situation if  a proxy, who is also an heir, worries about their  "inheritance"  being spent on a lengthy recovery, hospitalization  and rehabilitation, and actually  issues a  DNR order on their incapacitated relative, or orders that life support be terminated. Evil and atrocious to be sure, but It happens. And unless the incapacitated party specifically excluded powers of DNR and termination of life support from the proxy power granted, a proxy is free to make these decisions.

Obviously some loved ones are trusted so deeply that even the granting of substantial proxy powers can be done without reservation. Other folks may be situated such that that DNR is desired. But care must be taken to avoid granting too much proxy power where the person granting proxy would never dream of issuing a DNR on themselves, or terminating life support prematurely. For those who actually desire DNR status, that can be made official.

In conclusion, take time to write personalized exclusions for health care proxies. Pause to think about the powers you are granting, and how expansive they can be if left unlimited.

Thanks for visiting, and "Attorney Mayo Talks Law."

ADVERTISING MATERIAL: Need legal help? Call Attorney Jonathan Mayo at 508-771-1373 for a free consultation. I listen to client concerns, and offer smart, courteous, timely and affordable legal advice and services on a broad variety of matters. Situations have you worried? Call for help. The Law Office of Jonathan Mayo accepts credit cards too. Discounted rates for veterans. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on