When setting up a health care power of attorney, you choose an agent. This agent doesn’t have to do anything at the time, other than agree to the position. But if you become incapacitated, then they take over making medical decisions on your behalf.
You can see why it’s very important to have someone like this in your life. It guarantees that the proper medical decisions will be made during a difficult time. But what are some of the things that you should look for in this individual?
They should live close to you
First off, just consider how realistic it is that they can come to the hospital and make these decisions quickly. They have to be someone who lives nearby and who can help make these decisions. Many parents will pick an older child who still lives in the same city, for instance.
They need to be able to make hard choices
You also have to realize that some of these decisions are difficult. They may have to decide things like whether or not to keep you on life support. This is simply too hard for some people to make the choice. You must talk to your agent in advance to ensure that they’re willing to do so.
They need to understand your medical condition
For one thing, you need to pick someone who just has a general grasp of medical processes and understands what type of healthcare needs you may have. This can be complicated, and you need someone with an intellectual grasp on what the best decisions will actually be.
But that person also needs to understand your specific situation. You may have different risk factors, different types of treatment to consider and different ways in which your condition can change or worsen. You want to sit down and talk with your potential agent extensively in advance so that they know what you want if certain things take place.
Setting it up
After you decide who should be your agent, you can add a healthcare power of attorney to your estate plan. Just be sure you know what steps to take to do so.