Are there any restrictions on whom I can name to be my agent for health care decisions?

During the process of creating an estate plan, you will be faced with many important decisions. Several of these decisions will pertain directly to your health care. It is important to choose very carefully when naming an agent to make health care-related decisions on your behalf. This choice is made through a document known as an advanced directive.

Three People Who Cannot Be an Agent Under an Advanced Directive

Generally speaking, your advanced directive allows you to name a person to act as your agent to make health care decisions when you are unable to make them yourself. Many people also opt to add a backup or alternate agent in the event that your first choice is unwilling, unable, or unavailable to serve in this important role. There are a few limitations, however, on who can be named as an agent or an alternate agent. These individuals include:

  1. The supervising health care provider over your care, such as your doctor.
  2. An employee of the health care institution where you are currently receiving care. There is a small exception to this rule, however. If the employee happens to be your relative or your co-worker, it is permissible to name him or her as your agent.
  3. The operator or employee of a community care facility or a residential care facility where you are receiving care.

Although these limitations are imposed on who can be appointed your agent for the purpose of making health care decisions on your behalf, this typically leaves most other people in your life available. Think carefully before making this choice. Ideally, you will name someone who is responsible, levelheaded, and extremely familiar with your wishes as they pertain to health care and end-of-life treatment. We hope that you found this article helpful. If so, we encourage you to share it with your friends and family on Twitter!

 

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm