In California, when you create an Advance Health Care Directive, you will want to select a representative who can make the choices you would make if you weren’t incapacitated. While it is very common to select your spouse or another close family member for this task, there are some practical concerns that may cause you to reevaluate the decision and choose someone else.
A health care agent may be required to make some very difficult decisions, especially if you are suffering from a terminal illness or injury. In such a situation your agent has to be able to make decisions with a cool head and without being swayed by emotional pleas from others.
Your agent will also need to be able to assert his or her choice. Your agent’s responsibility is to make decisions that are in your best interests and that comport with what you would have wanted. Though others may disagree with the agent’s decision, he or she must be able to make a decision and stick by it.
If a medical emergency arises, your doctors will need to be able to contact your agent quickly. You should try to choose someone who is located as close to you as possible, or who will be able to quickly and easily communicate with your doctors when needed. You will also want to appoint an alternate agent in the event the first cannot be reached.
As with other aspects of planning for the future, it is best to seek the counsel of an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.