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Whom Should You Choose as Your Health Care Agent? 3 Questions You Need to Ask

Question 1: Can you be decisive?

When people create advanced medical directives and name a health care agent, they most typically choose their husband, wife, or another close family relative. But just because someone is closely related to you, that doesn’t mean the person is the best choice for your agent. Your agent needs to be able to make medical decisions in accordance with your wishes and in light of the medical circumstances. If you’re considering someone who is not comfortable with being decisive, you should look elsewhere.

Question 2: Can you be firm?

The medical decisions your agent may have to make can be very difficult. They might also be decisions that your family members have strong opinions about. Those same family members may try to influence the agent to get him or her to make a specific choice even though it is not what you would have wanted or is even against your explicit directions. Your agent must be able to stand firm and make decisions based on what you would have wanted regardless of what other family members want.

Question 3: Will you be around?

If a situation ever arises where your doctors need to talk to your agent about medical choices, the agent will have to be relatively close by or at least available over the phone. If your agent travels a lot or is often difficult to find, you should choose someone else.

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