A health care proxy can wield a significant amount of power. They are important figures in your estate plan, so it’s important to understand their duties before you appoint one.

What decisions can health care proxies make?

A health care proxy will make just about any health care decision if you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to make them on your own. You can limit their authority by stipulating that they can only make some medical decisions.

How does a health care proxy work with a living will?

A living will or advanced medical directive is a document meant to allow you to address your wishes for your healthcare preemptively. In a living will, you can say what types of surgeries, life-sustaining aid and other medical actions you want.

The person that you appoint as your health care proxy will use your living will as a guide for what you want. They will be the person responsible for relaying those decisions to your family and healthcare providers. Additionally, if situations arise that are not in your healthcare directive, they will help make the decisions concerning the necessary action.

As you work through your estate plan, be sure to discuss health care proxies with your attorney. They will help you understand the power of the position and how to choose who will serve as your proxy. It’s an important decision, so be sure that you fully understand the power of it and trust the person that you appoint.