3 questions to ask yourself about your health care agent

It can be tough to think about end-of-life or emergency medical care. After all, serious illnesses or injuries are enough to make anyone shudder. Still, you may eventually become incapable of making medical decisions for yourself. If so, you likely do not want to leave what happens to you to chance. 

In Arizona, you can designate a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. While state law allows you to choose virtually anyone, some individuals make better agents than others. Here are three questions that you should ask yourself when selecting your health care agent: 

1. Do you have someone in mind?

Often, spouses, partners and trusted friends serve as health care agents. Still, the most significant person in your life may not be the best one to act as your agent. Put simply, you should not take designating your agent lightly. If you have someone in mind, spend some time thinking through the implications of asking him or her to serve as your medical power of attorney.

2. Are you comfortable talking about uncomfortable topics?

For your health care agent to be effective, he or she must understand your wishes. Therefore, you must be comfortable talking about uncomfortable topics with the person you choose. These topics may include medical procedures, personal histories, religious beliefs, treatments and other sensitive subjects.

3. Will your agent advocate for your wishes?

A good health care agent should weigh your wishes against all available options. He or she may also have to make tough choices about your care. Furthermore, your designee may face resistance from your relatives and friends. As such, you should find someone who has both mental acuity and emotional fortitude. 

Designating a medical power of attorney is one of the more effective ways to retain some control over your medical care. Before asking someone to serve as your health care agent, though, you must have a conversation with yourself. By understanding what makes a good agent, you can choose the right person to make medical decisions on your behalf.