A health care proxy is one of the crucial documents you will draft during estate planning. This document allows you to name an agent who will make healthcare decisions on your behalf when a doctor determines you can’t.
So, who should you choose?
Here are four factors to consider:
Your agent will make decisions that will impact your life. Thus, you should choose someone you trust will make the best decisions even in difficult circumstances.
Making decisions regarding the treatment of an incapacitated person can be challenging. Your agent may need to go against your family members when making some decisions or go to court when necessary. To do this, an agent should communicate their decisions clearly and hold their ground.
While you may want to name your parents as your agents, they may be older when the time to assume their duties comes; they may be dealing with their own medical conditions.
Consider choosing your spouse, an adult child or a trusted friend.
Location may not be a deal breaker when choosing a health care agent. But it’s beneficial to choose one who lives nearby. Your agent may be required to get to the hospital quickly if something happens to you, or they may have to spend weeks or even months at your home or the hospital if you have a long-term illness. This can be inconvenient or impossible for someone who lives in a different city or state.
But if a party possesses your non-negotiable qualities and you/they have a realistic solution for living far away, you can still choose them.
Your health care agent will follow the wishes you write in your living will and make other medical decisions. Obtain adequate information to choose a reliable party.