Choosing a health care proxy: An important part of a living will

A health care proxy is also known as your health care power of attorney. This individual is someone who can make decisions your behalf if you're unable to do so yourself. It's vital to be certain the person you choose for your proxy understands your health conditions, medical history and symptoms.

The individual you make your power of attorney should be attentive to details and understand your morals and how you'd like to be treated. The individual must have good communication skills to work with medical teams and doctors to dictate the treatment you'd like. Additionally, he or she must take these duties seriously.

How can you choose the right health care proxy?

Partially, it comes down to trust. Choosing someone who is close to you and in whom you trust is a good way to know what to expect. Don't rely solely on good feelings to decide, though. You should want an advocate who is educated and who understands your wants and needs. Choose someone who is easy to get in touch with and who isn't likely to freeze when making difficult decisions.

Once you know who you'd like to have as your health care proxy, you need to make sure he or she is in your living will and advance directive forms. Two people will need to witness and sign the document. Those individuals can be family, your attorney or others. They must be 18 to sign the document and cannot be the proxy.

If you need to determine a health care proxy for your living will, your attorney can help. Our website has more information on living wills and what you should do to protect yourself.

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