The person you appoint as your healthcare proxy (or healthcare power of attorney) should be able to powerfully advocate for you if you should become unable to advocate for yourself. This is a very important role, so spend some time thinking about who in your life might be able to best advocate for you.
Qualities of a healthcare proxy
Your proxy (a.k.a. healthcare power of attorney, agent, representative, or surrogate) should be a person with the following characteristics:
- An understanding of your health condition, symptoms, and possibly your medical history.
- An understanding of how you want to be treated and the treatments you want and don't want.
- Attention to detail.
- An understanding of their duties and a commitment to taking those duties seriously.
- Good communication skills.
- In addition, your proxy should be someone you trust and will do their best to act in your best interest.
How to name a healthcare proxy
Every state has its own form, though it may go by a different name, such as healthcare power of attorney or agent. In some states, the form for naming a healthcare proxy is combined with the living will. You can download your state's advance directive form on Everplans.com.
Once you've completed the form, you need to have two witnesses countersign the document.
Choosing the right person to serve as your healthcare proxy
If you’re considering naming someone as your healthcare proxy but aren’t sure if it's the right person, it might be helpful to have a conversation about the duties and responsibilities of the position, as well as your healthcare decisions for the future.
Sometimes people assume a person in their life would be ideal for the job but don’t explain what being a proxy entails. If the person seems uncomfortable with any of your decisions (for example: an unwillingness to halt life support under any circumstances) or just doesn’t seem like they’re up for the task, it’s best to find out sooner rather than later. This way you can choose someone better suited for the job.
This article is provided by Everplans — a life and legacy planning company dedicated to transforming the way people get their families organized. For more information, visit: everplans.com
Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide tax, investment, or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors and financial professional regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.
Things to Consider:
- Your family may disagree with the proxy if emotions are running high.
- Make sure you choose someone who's up for the job and won't fold under pressure.
- If you sense any doubt regarding your proxy, you should probably choose someone else.