When it comes to your health, and possibly your life, you most likely have opinions regarding the type of care you want when it comes to making emergency medical decisions and any efforts you want doctors to make, depending on your condition. If you are like others here in Florida and elsewhere, one of your biggest concerns is that you may end up in a position of not being able to make decisions about your care on your own.

Fortunately, you have the right to make your choices known ahead of time and to appoint someone to step in and make decisions on your behalf. However, you may want to carefully consider whom you choose to fill this role. You need to have peace of mind that that person will carry out your wishes if the time comes.

What kinds of decisions does a health care proxy make?

First, a health care proxy’s decisions only affect your medical care, not your finances. Your estate plan will address those issues in a different way. He or she must make sure doctors honor the wishes in your living will. He or she also makes decisions regarding anything either not covered in your living will or when you don’t have a living will. Your proxy can be any adult, except anyone who could possibly be associated with your medical care.

This decision requires careful consideration

If you are married, you may automatically think your spouse would make the best choice. However, you may want to consult with him or her first. Your spouse may find it too difficult to make certain choices for you and would not want to take on that responsibility. Moreover, he or she may not have the same views on end-of-life choices that you do. In this situation, your wishes need to take precedence, so you may need to look elsewhere.

You will probably want to have in-depth conversations with whomever you believe will understand and support your choices, which are usually the two most important aspects of a health care proxy. Both of you need to feel comfortable with what may happen and the choices that may be necessary.

You may want help making this decision

Considering the importance of this decision, it would greatly benefit you to have as much information about the power you are giving your proxy as possible. This could help you make a decision with which you are comfortable. Discussing your wishes, needs and concerns with an attorney could answer any questions and help clear up any concerns you may have.