Your spouse or other relatives are not legally authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf unless that authority is delegated to them by a living will and health care proxy. Health care proxies recognize your right to appoint a health care agent that you trust to decide about medical treatment in the event that you become unable to decide personally.
Unless specified otherwise, the agent will have the same authority that you would have in deciding about treatment. The authority encompasses the right to forego treatment or to consent for needed treatment. The agent’s authority begins only when a physician determines that you have lost the capacity to decide about treatment.