Port Washington, NY asked in Health Care Law for New York

Q: In NY if 3 children are named as agents on a Health care Proxy do all 3 have to agree on decisions or can 2 overrule?

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1 Lawyer Answer
V. Jonas Urba
V. Jonas Urba
PREMIUM
Answered
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: The plain meaning of the language of any legal document applies. Was the document drafted clearly and unambiguously? Carefully examine the four corners of the document, meaning what language is used throughout the document. Hopefully yes and that answers your question.

If not, how will any ambiguity or uncertainty be decided?

1) Can the intent of the maker or principal be obtained through other documents? A living trust would be one such document. If these 3 persons are co-trustees, does the trust require a unanimous decision or best of 3? Do other documents or transactions of the principal confirm what her/his intention was? Examine those documents.

2) If there's still no definitive answer, apply to a Surrogate's Court and ask the judge to decide.

I have watched a single health care proxy not follow the principal's wishes or act in the incapacitated person's best interest so these documents are necessary but don't always accomplish what the maker of the document intended, which, in the end, is all that matters.

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