You should include a health care proxy in your estate plan to have someone (a family member or close friend) make health care decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitate. Health care providers will follow your wishes and your chosen agent’s decisions.
However, some mistakes may make your health care proxy less beneficial than you intended. They include:
#1. Not signing
A healthy proxy is a legal document – not signing it makes it invalid. Further, it’s unlawful for someone else to sign the document on your behalf.
#2. Not naming an alternate agent
Your first choice may not be able to act as appointed when the time comes. Thus, it will help to name an alternate agent. Without an agent, health care providers will follow the document without external guidance and can make other medical decisions on your behalf.
Your alternate agent should be as reliable and trustworthy as the primary one.
#3. Not having witnesses
Two adult witnesses must be present when signing a health care proxy. The agent or alternate agent cannot sign as your witnesses.
#4. Not being clear
Your health care wishes should be clear, including the treatment that may or may not be administered, wishes/instructions regarding organ or tissue donation and so on. The use of unclear language can create misunderstandings.
#5. Not discussing your wishes with the agents
Your agents might not understand your wishes as you do. Thus, besides writing them down, discuss them with your agents to ensure they have an in-depth understanding of your wishes. Besides, when circumstances and wishes change, you should have another meeting with your agents.
A health care proxy will ensure your medical wishes are observed when you can’t make decisions. It will be best to create this document carefully to avoid costly mistakes.