A health care proxy is a legal document that gives another person, known as an agent, the power to make health care decisions on your behalf. For example, this may be necessary if you suffer a serious injury that leaves you incapacitated.
The most important part of creating a health care proxy is selecting an agent. This is the person you trust to make difficult decisions on your behalf.
Here are some of the things to look for in an agent:
- Trust: You must trust this person to make the right decisions for you, not what's best for them or someone else.
- Assertiveness: It's not always easy to make important decisions when there are other people, such as family members, who have their own opinions. The best health care agents are those who are assertive with others, including family, friends and medical professionals.
- Location: Your health care proxy agent doesn't have to live locally, but it's typically a good idea. You want this person to be available in a hurry should they need to make a quick decision. If you choose an agent who isn't local, make sure they're willing to travel if need be.
- Age and health: Choose an agent who is your age or younger. Also, take their health into consideration, as someone with medical concerns may not be able to carry out their duties if called upon.
- Ability to fit in: One of your primary concerns is choosing an agent who fits in with your family dynamics. Your agent is responsible for making a variety of difficult decisions, which could anger one or more family member. Someone who's able to fit in with others will find it easier to get along during this difficult time.
A health care proxy is a big part of your estate plan, so you don't want to take this lightly. Spend as much time as necessary creating this document and choosing an agent.
Once you have someone in mind, talk to them about their potential responsibilities. If they agree, you can then move forward with the completion of the document.
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