Question 1. What are advance directives?
An advance directive is a specific type of legal document. Through these documents you can either choose a person who will be able to make medical decisions for you if you are ever unable to communicate, or list in detail the kinds of medical treatments you do or do not wish to receive in such a situation. In New York there are two types of advance directives: health care proxies and living wills.
Question 2. If I make these documents, do I have to register or file them?
No. New York State does not require anyone to file advance directives with any government or state agency. While some states offer residents the option of filing their medical directives with a state organization, that option is not available to you if you live in New York.
Question 3. If I don’t register them, what do I do with them?
Advance directives are not necessary documents. Anyone who chooses to can create these documents, but you are never under an obligation to do so. If you choose to create a living will or health care proxy in New York, you should give a copy of either or both of these documents to your doctor as soon as possible. You might also want to give copies to your attorney, close family members, and anyone else who might be in a position to communicate your wishes to your healthcare providers should you be rendered incapable.