The importance of a health care proxy

by | Dec 22, 2016 | Estate Planning |

For better or for worse, it is often major life events that inspire people to seek estate planning assistance. A new mother or father will take action to protect their child by establishing a guardianship and conservatorship to provide long-term care in the event that the parent is incapacitated. Some people are motivated to establish a plan only when their own parents pass away. Unlike like some other estate planning tools, a health care proxy becomes important the moment you turn 18. Even if you have no children and own no assets, you still have values that should be considered in the event of a medical emergency.

Temporary or permanent incapacity

Health care proxies are most likely to be the topic of conversation when people discuss worst-case scenarios. When someone is in a long-lasting, likely permanent vegetative state, there may be fights among loved ones and health care workers about the proper course of action. The truth is that health care proxies are about more than the end of a person’s life. 

A health care agent is empowered to make decisions for you in any situation where you are unable to do so yourself. If you are undergoing an operation, a health care agent can make decisions for you regarding complications or emergencies that arise while you are under anesthesia. In that moment, you are unable to make any decision and you need someone with the authority to do so. Your incapacity is temporary, but the importance of someone to decide on your behalf is no less important.

A difficult discussion

Discussing your wishes and beliefs regarding health care can be uncomfortable. For some, there is no one they trust to serve as a representative. We can help you create a living will to establish your wishes regarding medical treatment in a written form. Living wills control the decisions that your health care proxy can make regarding your treatment. While it is still best to thoroughly discuss your preferences with your health care agent, the living will can provide peace of mind by ensuring that your wishes are respected.