A strong, comprehensive estate plan does include planning for the distribution of your assets after you die, but it should also include plans and protections for life’s unexpected challenges while you are alive as well. For instance, there are critical health care documents that should be included in your estate plan such as a Health Care Surrogate. A Health Care Surrogate allows you to designate someone else to have the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf should you be incapacitated and otherwise unable to communicate such decisions and treatment preferences for yourself. Life can throw so many curveballs your way. Having the power to select someone to take on such a powerful role in the event that it is needed, can bring you a great deal of peace of mind. Choosing the right person for the role, however, is critical.
Things to Consider When Choosing Your Health Care Surrogate
In selecting your health care surrogate, consider the role of a health care surrogate. Your health care surrogate will be stepping into an important role of great responsibility in the event that you become incapacitated. This will likely be a stressful and highly emotional time. While it may be your first inclination to select a family member for the role of health care surrogate, take this into account. Sometimes, a family’s emotions and emotional investment in your wellbeing can be a good thing and other times it may cloud judgment or distract them from what you yourself would have wanted in terms of your health care preferences.
It makes sense to select a family member or loved one for the role of health care surrogate as you should have a deep trust in this person and his or her ability to take on such a role of responsibility. In addition to being careful to select a family member who can maintain a cool head in a potential crisis, it can also be important to consider any potential family dynamics that will need to be navigated in the appointment of your health care surrogate. Is there going to be any conflict generated by your selection? To try and assuage any hurt feelings or head off potential conflict before it arises, talk to your family and loved ones about the selection and why you made this decision. This can be very helpful.
You should also, of course, talk to the person you want to select as your health care surrogate. Make sure he or she is comfortable taking on such a role. It is an important one and a sensitive one at that. You will obviously want to choose someone who is willing and able to serve as your health care surrogate. To be on the safe side, consider selecting an alternate health care surrogate should your first preference be unavailable or unwilling to serve.
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Are you looking to put a strong, comprehensive estate plan in place? Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace is here to do just that. Contact us today.