January 5, 2015 First, when it comes to medical care, it may be of some importance to note that as long as you have the capacity to do so, you have every right to say “yes” or “no” to suggested treatments from your doctor. This includes the right to say decline artificial hydration and/or nutrition. Now that this right is clearly established, what happens when you are physically or mentally incapable of making those choices? The answer depends on how prepared you are for that moment if it ever comes. The Help Of An Agent If you have given clear health care directives or have established a durable power of attorney for healthcare, that agent will step in to make informed decisions on your behalf. Part of a well-planned power of attorney scenario would include conversations with your agent about your medical care wishes long before you need them. When A Proxy Is Named When there is no plan in place, under Washington law, family members are designated with authority to authorize health care decisions. But as for the question posed in the title of the blog – what happens when both you and your #1 proxy (or agent) are incapacitated (say from a traumatic car accident)? In the event that the agent given medical power of attorney is unable to carry out your duties, a well-planned estate might include a second choice. If there is no plan for a backup in place, a proxy will be named. If the proxy somehow becomes incapacitated, the doctor will simply name the next best choice as the new proxy. As you can see, the more you plan ahead and think through these scenarios, the more you serve your loved ones in your future should anything of this nature ever occur. Be Proactive – Contact Dan Kellogg Today A Health Care Directive provides instructions and direction to your doctor regarding artificial life support medical procedures to prolong life beyond the point of natural death if you are terminally ill or in a permanent unconscious condition. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced estate planning lawyer regarding the need for a Health Care Directive in Renton, Kent, Bellevue, or other surrounding Washington areas, please call (425) 225-8700 or contact the Law Offices of Dan Kellogg.