Choosing someone to act as your Health Care Power of Attorney is a key part of any estate plan. If you become incapacitated or are unable to make decisions, it is important to have someone you trust make those decisions on your behalf. One of the areas where you should have someone on “standby” to speak for you is medical care. For parents, it is natural to select an adult child because they know them best. The problem comes when you have more than one adult child to choose from.
Although it is natural to want all of your children to speak for you, there are a lot of unforeseen circumstances that can lead to problems during a medical emergency.
Here is why you should name only one child as your agent in the case of medical emergency:
- Medical emergencies are unexpected events and often arise at inconvenient times and require immediate decisions. If multiple agents need to be contacted in order to reach a decision, precious time will be lost.
- Most people select a child as their Health Care Power of Attorney because they will act in their best interest, but with multiple agents, there is no guarantee that everyone will agree. Reasonable people acting in what they believe to be their parent’s best interest can come to very different conclusions. Disagreements in life threatening situations can result in inaction.
- Not everyone is capable of making difficult life or death decisions for their parent. It is important to select someone that is equipped and prepared to make these decisions.
- You want to select someone that shares your values or at least can be trusted to defer to your values and wishes – even if they disagree with your choices.
Parents often do everything possible not to show favoritism among their children. But when it comes to something as important as your health and life, it is best to select the one person you believe will act in your best interest and follow the directions that you leave them. One great way to make this choice is to speak to your children and to get a clear sense of which one is right for the job. You may find that some will decline the position knowing it would be too difficult for them. You may also simply choose the child that lives nearby and is easily reachable in case of an emergency.
Selecting one child may not be easy, but it will be better for everyone if you openly discuss the issues in advance and make sure all your children understand your wishes. If you need any assistance in selecting a Medical Power of Attorney or you would like to start the legal process, please call the Jarvis Law Office at 1-877-653-3450.