Your estate plan helps you care for your family after you are gone, as well as create a plan for your assets. It can also benefit you while you are still alive and unable to make major healthcare decisions on your own.
This is where your living will and health care agent come in. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can use a power of attorney to name a health care agent, which specifies a representative to speak on your behalf when you are not able to. Because it is such a huge responsibility, you must choose the person carefully. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Your agent must meet certain requirements
You can choose from friends and family when selecting an agent. Most adults aged 18 or older are eligible to act on your behalf. However, the person cannot provide you medical care. That means your primary care doctor or other specialists are not allowed to serve as your representative.
You must trust your agent to act on your behalf
With so much at stake, you must trust that your representative will perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Most importantly, you must know that the person will uphold your wishes as they pertain to end-of-life care. That means your selection cannot let their own personal feelings get in the way of your wishes, no matter how different they are.
Your agent must advocate for you in front of others
The most difficult aspect of serving as a person’s health care representative is communicating wishes to others. This is especially true when it comes to family, who might disagree with your decisions. That is why your agent has to respond to their questions and concerns clearly and confidently.
Even when you have the right legal documents in place, you should still consider naming a health care agent to act on your behalf. This person will communicate your wishes to medical staff as well as family, which ensures they honor your desires regarding medical treatment.