Part of estate planning should include choosing someone to serve as a health agent. If you fail to specifically list someone in your health directive as an agent, your state's laws will be observed. If you have yet to name an agent or are in the process of creating a directive, here is what you need to know.
What Is a Health Agent?
A health agent is the person who is responsible for carrying out the wishes of your health directive. For instance, if you do not want to be put on life-support if there is no brain activity, the agent would inform the medical staff of your wish.
The agent is also responsible for making decisions for those things that are not covered in your directive in the event that you are unable to make your own decisions.
If you fail to choose an agent, your state's laws will most likely be observed. In some states, this could mean your spouse or adult children have a say over medical decisions for you.
Who Should Be Your Health Agent?
You can choose anyone to serve as your health agent. However, it is important that you carefully consider your choices. The agent needs to be someone who is assertive and is nearby. In the event that you are ill for an extended period of time, the agent will need to be available on daily basis to make health care decisions.
Can You Choose More Than One Person?
Legally, you can name more than one person to be the health agent. Unfortunately, this could lead to conflict. The agents you select will need to be able to work together to reach a consensus about your care. If not, a court might have to intervene and decide.
If your case does land in court, no decisions about your care can be made until the case is heard by a judge. This could interfere with you receiving the care you need.
Instead of naming more than one agent, you can name an agent and select an alternate. The alternate can step in if the other agent is unable to handle his or her duties. It is important to put as much consideration into your alternate as you do the original agent because he or she could end up making decisions about your health care.
To ensure that you have carefully covered all of your medical decisions and any other related issues, work with an estate planning attorney. He or she can help you consider your state's laws as it relates to the issue and ensure that there are no legal hang-ups with your directive.
To learn more, contact a company like Great Plains Diversified Services Inc.