Can I name anyone I want to be my health care proxy?

Yes, you can name anyone you want with just a few exceptions. The health care proxy should be part of your advance medical directive. Your advance medical directive will provide important information about your wishes for the person whom you name as your health care proxy or health agent. It is then up to your health care proxy to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can’t make them on your own.

Choose Carefully

There is, perhaps, nothing more intimate and nothing more important than making healthcare decisions for someone else. The person whom you name as your health care proxy may be asked to make decisions that you would have difficulty making for yourself. Accordingly, it is important to focus less on your legal relationship with that person and more on how much you trust that person to make what you consider to be the right decisions on your behalf. In other words, your health care proxy does not need to be your son or your niece. It does not even need to be a close relative. Instead, it may be a trusted and respected friend. Some exceptions do exist, however, for people with whom you have professional relationships. For example, your doctor or an employee of a hospital, nursing home, or other place where you are receiving care should not be your health agent.

Keep These Three Things in Mind

When you do choose someone to be your health agent, it is important to talk to that person to make sure that the person is willing to accept this responsibility. It is also important to name a second choice in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to perform his or her duties at a time when you need a health agent. Finally, it is important to make sure that your advance medical directive is appropriately executed and enforceable according to California law. Then, you can be confident that someone you trust will make your medical decisions for you if you are ever in a situation when you can’t do it for yourself.

 

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