Choosing your health care proxy is another crucial step in building a solid estate plan. As explained in the article A Coherent Estate Plan Consists of More Than Just a Will, the health care proxy is a document that names a person to render medical decisions for you while incapacitated. Unlike naming an agent for finances, choosing your health care proxy deserves more scrutiny. Since your health care proxy could be handling complex medical options and opinions, you need to ensure that the proxy is up to the task. Therefore, choosing your health care proxy deserves serious consideration.
Attributes to Consider While Choosing Your Health Care Proxy
While choosing your health care proxy, the person needs a few essential attributes. After all, the person you choose as your proxy may need to render life or death decisions on your behalf. Therefore, the person you choose as your proxy needs the following attributes:
- The person needs to live nearby or able to travel to be at your side when decisions are necessary.
- Should be a strong person not easily influenced or intimidated by doctors or family that disagree with your wishes.
- Has the ability to understand your medical condition and any suggested life extending measures.
Furthermore, although a medical degree isn’t necessary, the proxy should be able to ask the proper questions concerning your condition. Additionally, the proxy should be able to correlate the options received with your wishes to reach an appropriate decision.
Other Considerations in Choosing Your Health Care Proxy
When choosing your health care proxy, the following additional details need consideration:
- In the event that your health care proxy may not be able to serve, you should choose an alternate proxy.
- In the document, ensure that the second person is only an alternate and not a co-proxy.
- Do not appoint your doctor or other health professionals as your proxy. Unfortunately, most states prohibit health care professionals from serving as a health care proxy.
If you chose an alternate proxy, be sure the person has the proper attributes. By selecting competent proxies, you will ensure that your life is in good hands if incapacitated.
A Final Word on Choosing Your Health Care Proxy
In the article Considerations for Choosing an Agent for Your Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, you may consider your executor to serve as your agent for finances for the purpose of continuity. However, that logic doesn’t apply to your health care proxy. Your health care proxy needs to have the attributes necessary to render life or death decisions. Unfortunately, those decisions have nothing to do with the continuity of the estate. Therefore, unless your executor has the necessary attributes to also serve as your proxy, you will most likely have to choose another person. Regardless, take the time to choose your health care proxy wisely. The result will be a solid estate plan that will take care of you first.
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Plan Your Estate– Plan Your Estate will go into more detail about the Health Care Proxy.