What is the value of a health care proxy?

| Jan 5, 2021 | Estate Planning |

The estate planning process in Arizona could involve more than drawing up a will. A will reflects someone’s effort to address the distribution of assets after passing. Sadly, a person with a terminal disease may become incapable of making decisions about his/her health care. Estate planning could provide a possible solution by establishing a health care proxy.

Appointing someone to make health care decisions

With a health care proxy, a legal document establishes a named individual, referred to as a “health care agent.” The agent then makes decisions about an incapacitated person’s care. For those dealing with health issues, a health care proxy might best serve the infirmed, his/her relatives and others well.

Someone with heart disease, for example, may suffer a stroke or another unfortunate medical event. The individual might require extensive care but cannot make appropriate determinations. A health care proxy could ensure the authority rests with an agent that the infirmed feels is most qualified. Perhaps immediate relatives aren’t suited for those duties. The proxy could direct responsibilities to someone who is.

Avoiding mistakes with the documents

As part of their estate planning, many people may draw up a power of attorney (POA) document to address financial matters if they become ill. However, the legal rights found in the power of attorney document do not extend to health care decisions. Signing a POA document but not a health care proxy could leave relatives in a difficult situation when someone falls severely ill.

Crafting a “generic” health care proxy document based on a template might create problems as well. The language in a poorly composed document could find itself at the center of a dispute. There may even be issues about the validity based on state statutes. Perhaps drafting the document with an estate planning attorney may prove wise. Doing so could result in a professional, legally sound contract.