When you create your estate plan, you will be prompted to select a healthcare agent. This individual will make medical and life-saving decisions on your behalf and work closely with physicians overseeing your care. While you may think a family member or spouse is the best selection, you will want to double check. Sometimes it is in your best interest to have a professional or party not vested in your assets oversee your healthcare.
Some things to consider when selecting your healthcare agent:
- How old is your agent? Some states require your agent to be 18 or 21 years in order to make decisions on your behalf. Even if your agent is your child, he or she must be of the legal age first.
- Where does your healthcare agent live? A healthcare agent in another state isn’t the best selection. They may not be able to come and serve when they’re needed – especially in emergency situations. Also, your state may require you select a healthcare agent who lives locally, which means your designation could be denied.
- How reachable is your agent? Your best friend may be your ideal choice, but if he’s someone who never answers his phone or doesn’t return phone calls, you may want to select a different party. Your ideal agent is one that you can reach in emergency situations and without hassle.
- Do you trust your agent? Some people automatically select their parents, but will their parents be able to carry out their wishes? What if you don’t want life-saving treatments, will your parents be able to deny them when the time comes? Consider the wishes set out in your living will and make sure the health care agent you select can actually honor them before you elect that person.