A new state law that goes into effect Tuesday is aimed at clearing up confusion about who can make medical decisions for incapacitated loved ones if there is no living will or health-care proxy in effect. Sponsors of the Family Health Care Decisions Act said the law was necessary because in the absence of a living will or a health-care proxy, spouses or domestic partners were sometimes shut out from making end-of-life or other critical medical decisions for their loved ones.

Under the new law, a surrogate is chosen in a mandated order if there is no court-appointed guardian. Top priority is given to a spouse or domestic partner followed by adult child, parent, adult sibling, other relative or friend.

For more information on the law, go to nysenate.gov and type FHCDA in the search box.