When you create a healthcare directive, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is naming an agent. This is the person you’re trusting to make medical decisions on your behalf should you be unable to express yourself, such as the result of incapacity.
Overall, the act of creating a healthcare directive is a straightforward process. However, there’s a big choice lingering: who will you name as your healthcare agent?
There is no right or wrong way to make this decision, but there are some details you absolutely need to consider:
- Do you trust the person? If you can’t trust a person one hundred percent, you shouldn’t name them your healthcare agent. They may be staffed with the responsibility of making important decisions on your behalf, so you must trust that they’ll do the right thing.
- Location: It’s not required by law, but it’s best to choose a healthcare agent who lives in close proximity to where you are most likely to receive medical care. If they don’t, they should at least be willing to travel to your area should they need to perform their duties.
- Who will you name as your financial agent? Having the same healthcare agent and financial agent isn’t always in your best interest. This can lead to your healthcare agent making decisions that benefit them financially. Also, if you choose two different people, make sure they’re able to get along with one another.
- Assertiveness: Your healthcare agent may be under a lot of pressure from a lot of people if you’re incapacitated. They must be able to tune out the noise and make decisions based on your wishes.
These aren’t the only details to consider when choosing a healthcare agent, but they can point you in the right direction.
Final tip: you have the legal right to change your healthcare agent as you see fit, so don’t hesitate to do so if necessary. For example, if you name your spouse your healthcare agent and you go through a divorce, it’s time to make an immediate change.
If you have any questions or concerns about creating a healthcare power of attorney and naming a healthcare agent, we’re here to help. To get started, visit our website and download some of our estate planning reports. These resources will put you on the right path.
- Special Needs Planning and Direct Gifting: Take Caution - August 6, 2020
- Estate Planning With Your Spouse: Ask These Questions - August 4, 2020
- How to Know if Your Estate Plan Requires Attention - August 3, 2020