If you were incapacitated or unable to make medical decisions for yourself, who would you want to handle this on your behalf? While a name may come to mind, you need to consider your options carefully when selecting a health care proxy, also known as your health care or medical power of attorney (POA).
There are a few things to think about when selecting someone for this role:
Find someone you trust and who knows your wishes
Like some people, there may be specific things you want to be done (or avoided) regarding medical care and treatment. Before selecting a health care proxy, you need to ensure you find someone who knows what these things are.
You also need to name someone who you trust to follow your wishes, even if it is difficult when the time comes.
Ask them if they are comfortable with the role
It’s not a good idea to name someone as your health care proxy and never tell them. The first news of this may be when the hospital calls asking them what to do regarding your care. Discuss with the person the role, what you want, and why you are choosing them. If they aren’t comfortable doing this, find someone else.
Your decision can be changed in the future
You can change your health care proxy during your life numerous times if you want – and you probably should. For example, if you name your spouse, and get a divorce in a few years, you can choose someone else.
Use the information above to choose the right person for your health care proxy. This is an important part of any estate plan and will give you peace of mind that your medical needs will be handled by someone you trust.