Along with protecting your assets after you are gone, estate plans can also protect you while you are still alive. This is especially true when it comes to the healthcare power of attorney, which offers protection in case you become incapacitated by illness or injury.
A power of attorney is your personal representative who makes important decisions about medical care when you cannot. They will inform your doctor of your wishes regarding end of life care, while also asking questions when needed. Because the stakes are so high, you must make the right decision, and here are a few essential qualities to consider.
There is a chance that medical staff or family members will not agree with your healthcare decisions. In this case, your power of attorney must communicate clearly and assertively to ensure others respect your final wishes. This experience is often intimidating, especially when tensions run high. The person you choose must have an assertive nature to ensure they can represent to the best of their ability.
Physical location is another important factor to consider. Your power of attorney must live close enough that they can reach you quickly. That is why choosing someone who lives across the country might not make sense. If your preferred choice does live far away, you can also pick a back-up power of attorney just in case.
Being a power of attorney is a lot of responsibility, which means your selection must exhibit trustworthiness. Along with their character, also consider the person’s home life and responsibilities. People who work many hours or have large families might find it difficult to take on the role with the dedication it requires.
Many people select a close friend or family member to serve this critical role in their lives. Regardless of whom you choose, you must have a frank and open discussion about your wishes to ensure you make the right decisions.