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Choose your health care proxy carefully

One of the most important decisions you have to make regarding your health care is who is going to stand in your stead to make decisions for you when you can't do that task. The person you choose is known as your health care proxy, agent or surrogate.

When you give power of attorney for health care to someone, you are entrusting him or her to make all of the decisions about your care. One thing to remember here is that your living will takes precedence over this person's directions. This means that the proxy can't go against the terms of the living will.

You have to choose someone for this duty who you know will abide by your wishes. This person must be assertive and willing to disagree with those around him or her if he or she knows that your wishes go against the other person.

Some people choose to have a proxy who is a family member but others rather have someone unrelated. This is a difficult decisions to make, but you have to think about your family dynamics to determine which option you think will work best. In some cases, it is best to have a non-family member so that the person might be able to think without the emotions of a family member.

The age and location of the proxy also matter. You might want someone younger than you so that there is a better chance he or she will still be around when you need him or her. Choosing someone who lives close to you can help out if the situation that leads to him or her making decisions continues on for a prolonged period.

This is only one part of your estate plan. Carefully consider every aspect of the plan to make sure your wishes are clear in each component.

Source: FindLaw, "Selecting Your Health Care Agent," accessed Oct. 06, 2017

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