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Remote Witnessing for Health Care Proxies

Currently, New York law requires that the Health Care Proxy be signed in-person by two witnesses in order to complete the form. This form allows you to appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if you become sick or injured and can no longer make decisions for yourself. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we successfully advocated for an Executive Order to temporarily allow electronic witnessing for the Health Care Proxy while social distancing guidelines were in place. This order subsequently expired.

However, we heard from New Yorkers that the need for in-person witnessing continues to serve as a barrier for many when attempting to complete this form. In response, we advocated for the current laws to be changed. We are pleased to share that the bill to amend the existing law has passed both houses of the state legislature. The bill (A.2190, Dinowitz; S.5100, Cleare) would allow for the remote witnessing of Health Care Proxies by using audio-video technology (such as Zoom). We will let you know if and when it is signed by the Governor.

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