Choosing your health care power of attorney can be a difficult and emotional task. It’s crucial that you have a health care power of attorney because when you need medical attention, the doctors are required to get your permission before beginning any treatment. This could be impossible if you are incapacitated.
Here are some considerations to think about and open the lines of communication with your family about this very important decision.
1. Who do you trust with your life?
2. Who can be easily reached when needed?
3. Who will follow your wishes?
4. What would your family say about this person? Will they agree or will this decision have potential conflicts?
5. Do you want to appoint multiple people or just one person to act on your behalf? If you plan to appoint multiple people to act jointly, make sure that they are in agreement to avoid any conflict. You might want to appoint 3 for a majority vote or to require a unanimous decision.
6. Make the hard decisions yourself. Family members may be more willing to act as your health care agent if you can ease their decision-making burden by already indicating your end-of-life decisions in a living will.
One of the toughest decisions that I find people have is choosing who to be a guardian for their children. And because they can’t decide who to be the guardian for their kids, they put off naming someone or even put off doing their whole estate plan.
A guardian is the person or people (if you name a couple) responsible for your kids’ physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. If you name a couple and one of the spouses pass away, ask yourself whether the surviving guardian spouse can care for your child alone or would you want to go to your next choice for a guardian.
When nominating a guardian for your child, consider:
If this is still difficult for you, keep in mind that the other alternative is a Judge making the decision for you and who doesn't know you and your circumstances.
About the Author
Christine Chung, Esq.