When you think of estate planning, you might imagine making your will or setting up funeral arrangements. That’s not actually all your estate plan can do, though. In fact, your estate plan is a great way to plan for incapacity, not just death.
There are any number of things that could cause you to be unable to make decisions for yourself or unable to care for yourself. From collisions that lead to traumatic brain injuries to going through surgery and not being able to make decisions while you’re under the knife, there may be times when you can’t speak up for yourself. That’s where your health care proxy may come into play and be an important aspect of your estate plan.
What is a health care proxy?
A heath care proxy is a medical directive that designates a proxy to make medical decisions on your behalf. For example, if you cannot make your wishes known because of being unconscious, your proxy could let the doctors know your wishes when it comes to how they treat you.
You can assign anyone to be your health care proxy so long as they are at least 18. You may want to choose someone who is:
- Located near you
- Familiar with your medical conditions
- A good friend or trusted family member
- Someone you know who is educated in medicine
Your health care proxy may need to:
- Choose which hospital you go to
- Request or deny life-support treatments
- Decide on what kind of medical care you’ll receive
- Request second opinions or alternative treatment options
…and many other things to do with your care. Choose someone you trust and that you know will abide by your wishes. Your attorney can help you set up this arrangement, so it’s available if or when you need it.