The person you choose to make medical decisions may be called:
- Health care agent
- Health care representative
- Health care attorney in fact
- Health care proxy
- Patient advocate
It doesn’t matter what this person is called. What matters is that you choose somebody you can trust. Most people turn to a spouse, family member, or trusted friend for this responsibility.
Here is one thing you should never do: make a rash decision. Remember, this is the person who will make important medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Choosing the wrong person could be bad for you if something goes wrong.
When selecting a health care agent, look for somebody who meets the following criteria:
- Meets all your state’s requirements.
- Somebody who is not part of your regular medical care team.
- A person who can be trusted to make decisions based on your wishes.
- A person who can be trusted to act as an advocate in the event that there are disagreements.
- Somebody who is willing to discuss important medical issues with you.
You hope your health care agent never has to make a decision on your behalf. If your agent is in this position, it means you are unable to act on your own.
It is better to be safe than sorry. It is better to name a health care agent today than to put this off any longer.
Creating a health care power of attorney is a big deal. This should be part of your estate plan. If you need any help with this, including how to select a health care agent, we are only one email or phone call away.