Illness, injuries and age can make it impossible for you to direct your own health care at some point in the future — which is why having a health care proxy in place is so important. The person who holds the power of attorney for your health care can be called on at any time to make decisions about surgery, transfers to other medical facilities, medication and more.

How do you decide who should make those important decisions for you if you can’t do it yourself? Here are some things you should consider:

  • Who lives close to you? It can be very difficult for someone who isn’t close enough to be an effective health care power of attorney. They’re either forced to drop everything and travel to you when needed or handle all the tough calls long distance.
  • Who will follow your directives? Ideally, you’ll have a living will in place that makes it easier for your proxy to determine what treatment you do and do not want. However, living wills can’t cover everything. You need someone who understands what you want and will see that you get it.
  • Who can stand up to dissent? Your health care proxy may have to make some hard decisions, and those decisions may not make everyone in your family happy. You don’t want to pick someone who will bow to family pressure (against your wishes).
  • Who do you feel is reliable? Some people don’t handle responsibility well — or are just hard to track down. You want to pick someone who stays in touch and has a relatively stable life.

A health care directive that designates this proxy is only part of an effective estate plan — but it’s one that you don’t want to do without. Find out more today.