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How to choose your health care agent

As you create your living will, one of the things you'll be asked to do is name someone to be your health care agent. This person will be your proxy should you become incapacitated or disabled, making healthcare decisions for you based on your wishes or their best judgment. Needless to say, choosing the right person is of utmost importance.

So how do you go about selecting the right person to make these all-important decisions for you? Here are some things to consider as you ponder the question:

  • The person you choose should be forceful enough to disagree with doctors, family members and friends to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
  • You may want to consider someone who lives nearby because they may be asked to be by your side for weeks or even months. This can also give you an excuse for not choosing a more obvious candidate.
  • Consider the health of your health care agent. If he or she is much older than you or in poor physical condition, they may not be a good choice.
  • Think about your family dynamics. Will your choice ruffle feathers? Can you explain your choice to your family?
  • Understand that you will also need to name a financial agent to handle your financial affairs. If you choose two separate people, will they be able to make decisions in harmony?

Once you've chosen someone to be your health care agent, you'll want to speak with a lawyer to make sure your will and all your estate planning documents are in order.

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