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Consider this when selecting a health care agent

As you create your estate plan and prepare for the possibility that you could become incapacitated, you may choose to appoint a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. This is an important decision that may greatly impact not only your own health and well-being, but also your estate and potentially the relationships between your loved ones.

A health care agent holds a great deal of responsibility. When and if he or she must step into that role at some point in the future, it is very likely that it will involve making decisions that are emotionally difficult. You must always consider your candidate's decisiveness and assertiveness when determining who your health care agent will be.This person may need to make difficult decisions in the face of severe opposition from your other loved ones. If you have complicated family dynamics, it is also wise to consider how they may affect a candidate's ability to perform his or her duties effectively when the time comes.

It is also imprint to consider practical issues that may arise, like your candidate's proximity to you. If you appoint someone who lives several hours away as your healthcare agent, he or she may not be available to make a hard decision when you need it most. Similarly, if you assign financial agency to one individual and health care agency to another, this may quickly create tense conflicts that compromise your best interests.

Appointing a health care agent requires careful examination of your relationships and priorities. You must take great care to understand all of the issues at hand to ensure that your wishes are upheld no matter what the future holds.

Source: FindLaw, "Selecting Your Health Care Agent," accessed May 25, 2018

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