While planning your estate, you learn of something called a “health care proxy.” This person ensures medical professionals honor your health care desires if you become incapacitated.

Do you know how to choose the right person for this critical role? Learn what personality traits and details to focus on.

Honoring your decisions

Being a health care proxy is about more than making medical decisions for a loved one; the person must also honor those decisions. Think about who in your life would ensure that doctors carry out your medical choices, even if the person acting as your proxy does not agree with your judgment. You want a proxy who puts your needs before personal morals and closely held opinions.

Stepping past your emotional connection

Can your proxy candidates overcome the emotional bond you share to take proper care of you? Your spouse loves you, but that affection may stand in the way of making a tough medical decision to save your life or improve your medical condition.

Standing against medical professionals

Sometimes, doctors speak against a patient’s decisions, or they offer an alternative. The right proxy remains steadfast in standing up for your choices and doing everything possible to see that the hospital honors your wishes.

Adjusting to changing situations

Medical conditions can shift in the blink of an eye. When they do, doctors look to proxies to help them decide what to do. You need someone who can make quick, sensible decisions at the drop of a hat. Think about people in your life who keep cool under pressure.

Take your time when designating a health care proxy. This person may one day hold your life in her or his hands.