A health care proxy, also known as durable power of attorney for healthcare or medical power of attorney, is a legal document that allows you to nominate someone to speak on your behalf and make healthcare decisions when you cannot. It works well in tandem with living wills or can stand on its own and can benefit people of all ages. Choosing an individual with whom to act on behalf is of crucial importance; be sure to select someone reliable who will act on your behalf.
Your agent (the person appointed to represent your interests) should be an adult whom you trust will honor your wishes, whether this be family member, friend, clergyman etc. To avoid future conflict between yourself and this individual it’s advisable to discuss preferences prior to selecting them as your agent and let doctors and hospitals know who has been chosen as this individual.
At times, your proxy will be asked to decide whether or not you would like your organs and tissues donated after death. State laws vary so it’s important that you consult with a healthcare provider about this option before including it in an advance directive statement that states your wishes as an organ donor – you can even include the names of representatives as well as which organ or tissue types would like to donate in this list.
Your representative should take special instructions into account when making decisions on your behalf, such as your preferences for tube feedings, intubation or other life support procedures. Furthermore, you can stipulate how long they should remain valid.
When creating your health care proxy, it is wise to keep multiple copies. When signing your health care proxy document, be sure to share copies with your agent, doctor and medical professionals as well as close family members and close friends – you should even keep one for yourself in your wallet or purse! It may be beneficial to alter it any time your agent or wishes change; to do so simply rip up or physically destroy your old proxy before writing a new one with identical details.
Before signing any advance directives or health care proxies, it is wise to consult an estate planning attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you create a legally enforceable plan in your state while explaining all available options and answering any queries that arise. They may even help create living wills and other documents to ensure that your wishes are carried out during an emergency situation. They can even provide templates of health care proxy agents so you can select one who best matches your preferences while reviewing documents to make sure they are clear and understandable.