Choosing people (agents) to make your medical and financial decisions under a health care proxy and durable power of attorney are important considerations. It is imperative to choose someone you trust and someone who knows you well enough to be able to “stand in your shoes” and make decisions that you would make. Remember, your agent should be making decisions based upon how you would act, not how they would act personally.
When contemplating agents, a potential pitfall is to name two or three people to act together. The potential for disagreement is a significant consideration when more than one agent is appointed. In the event that you nominate more than one person to serve at a time, you will want to provide language that will expedite resolutions among quarrelling agents. It is also important to note that you do not need to nominate the same agent under your health care proxy and durable power of attorney. If you trust multiple people, you will want to nominate one or two successor agents for each document in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to act.
In an effort to make your agents feel more comfortable and to ensure that your wishes are followed, you will want to provide them with some written guidelines, particularly about potentially difficult decisions such as life-sustaining treatments, organ donation and disposition of your remains.
Todd C. Ratner, Esq.
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