Who will take care of everything if you are one day no longer in the position to do so yourself? The health care proxy is aimed to ensure this.
Prevention is better than cure - an old saying that proves valid especially when one is no longer mentally or physically able to settle one's business personally.
This can also happen if one loses their decision-making capacity. If this occurs and no health care proxy has been issued, the court will appoint a legal representative for you.
In this case, a health care proxy can be useful. If the occasion arises, you should appoint a person of trust while you are still healthy, who can then see to your business matters subsequently on your behalf.
If you lose the required decision-making capacity, you can authorise one or more representatives in advance - in other words, while you are still fully able to make decisions. With a health care proxy, the authorised person takes decisions on behalf of the principal who is no longer able to take his/her own decisions. A health care proxy should thus require unlimited personal trust in the authorised person.
If no legal precaution has been taken, in accordance with the four pillars of the law on the protection of adults, first the chosen representative, then the legal representative and lastly the court-appointed representative will be turned to. The personal freedom of decision-making is greatest in the case of a health care proxy, and the least powerful in the case of a court-appointed representative. Therefore, a health care proxy should be issued to a person of trust in good time.
In the health care proxy, it can be specified for which matters the person authorised should be responsible. It is also possible to authorise several people to take care of different tasks. For example, a person of trust can deal with the assets and another can take all decisions relating to care.
The proxy usually covers the following aspects:
- representing the person before banks
- representing the person before authorities or courts of law
- decisions on the future place of residence or accommodation in an old people's home / care facility
- consent / refusal of medical treatments and examinations,
- therapies, operations, inspection of medical records
- disposition of properties
- receipt of mail
The health care proxy must be drawn, personally and in writing, up before a notary, a solicitor or an association for the protection of adults.
It must be ensured that the area of validity of the business matters are described in an unambiguous and clear manner. The drawing up of the health care proxy and the onset of care must be entered in the Austrian Central Register of Representation (ÖZVV). The principal can withdraw the health care proxy at any time. Otherwise, it will end with the death of the principal or of the authorised person.
It is absolutely recommended to rely on competent advice from a notary or a solicitor. In case of any questions please do not hesitate to consult an expert about this.