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What is the difference between a Health Care Proxy and a Power of Attorney?

A Health Care proxy gives your designated agent full authority to make health care decisions during your life in the event you cannot make the decisions for yourself. You provide the directions to your agent for circumstances when you cannot convey your own wishes, as well as end-of-life wishes. The healthcare proxy also discusses organ donation, your wishes as to burial or cremation, and other health care matters.

A power of attorney allows a designated person of Your choosing to make decisions for you (other than health care) during your lifetime. The agent You appoint under your Power of Attorney may access bank accounts, communicate with Medicare, the IRS, New York State, and tend to other financial matters your behalf, and take care of other important matters to assist you. The New York State Power of Attorney law was updated in June, 2021. If you previously executed a Power, you would be well advised to execute a new Power which conforms to the new law. The Power may be tailored to empower Your agent or successor agents to be of the most assistance to You. Unlike the Health Care Proxy, there is no requirement that You not be able to handle Your own matters to be effective. The Power of Attorney is effective as of the time You sign it.

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