Tips to Choosing Your Health Care Agent

The most critical choice you’ll have to make when creating a durable power of attorney for healthcare coverage is selecting who your health care agent should be.

Most people describe their health care provider as their spouse, partner, relative, or close friend. The most crucial thing is that you trust the individual entirely and feel comfortable sharing your medical care preferences with them. Your agent does not have to agree with all of your requests, but they must fully acknowledge your right to receive the care you choose. When choosing a healthcare agent for yourself, you should hire elder law attorneys Virginia Beach for professional advice.

What is the Purpose of a Power of Attorney?

In case you didn’t know, a durable power of attorney for medical care coverage gives someone else the ability to make healthcare choices for you if you are incapable of acting for yourself. This instrument may be referred to as an Assignment of Health Care Proxy, Appointment of Health Care Surrogate, or maybe something similar in various states. Still, it functions exactly like a durable power of attorney.

• Don’t appoint a health-care professional as your agent.

Your agent should almost never be your doctor or a representative of a care home or hospital where you are receiving care. In fact, several states’ laws prohibit you from appointing someone to make choices for you.

If your partner works at a hospital, it may be enough to prevent you from mentioning them. If your initial choice of agent is prohibited by law in your state, you will have to choose someone else to represent you. Some jurisdictions, however, permit you to designate a health care professional if they are connected to you or if you both practice at the same health care facility.

• Health-Care Representative Limitations by States

Some states have limitations on who you can appoint as your health-care agent. These limitations are based on the assumption that specific individuals are inherently untrained or prejudiced and should not make healthcare choices on your behalf. 

  • Naming More Than One Agent

Though you are lawfully allowed to appoint more than one individual to perform health-care choices on your behalf, and you must only designate one agent in your medical power of attorney. 

Due to the passage of time and human propensity, there may be issues with designating two or more persons to split the position. They may disagree at the critical period when they are supervising your requests and guiding your care, rendering them useless as advocates on your behalf. Agents that are feuding may wind up settling their differences in court, unnecessarily postponing and complicating your treatment. If you are considering naming multiple people your healthcare agent, first consult an elder attorney to figure a way to minimize dispute.

  • Choosing a Substitute Agent

Suppose your initial candidate is unavailable to take the position for whatever circumstances or steps down after your medical power of attorney takes effect. In that case, you have the option of naming one or more other agents to serve you.

It’s a smart option to list at least one backup agent. Still, you must take the same care in designating your backups as you did with your initial choice: Make a list of individuals who will be capable of representing you effectively if the occasion arises.