What should I consider when choosing a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a person you appoint to make health care decisions on your behalf. This might be necessary after a prolonged, life-threatening illness or if you've been involved in a serious accident and can no longer make decisions on your own. Because choosing the right person is crucial to your peace of mind, Very Well Health offers the following advice. 

While the person you select doesn't necessarily need to be a health care professional, picking someone with an understanding of medical terms and concepts can be helpful. Your power of attorney will need to make important health care decisions, some of which may involve complex information. Having an understanding of these concepts allows the person to make informed decisions on your behalf. This is especially important when emergency medical care is being administered, in which case decisions must be made swiftly. 

More importantly, your selection should be assertive and willing to be your advocate. Talking to medical staff can sometimes be intimidating. The same can be said of discussing issues with other family members, who might have a difference of opinion about what kind of health care is appropriate. A power of attorney must communicate your wishes to others in a way that is clear and concise. Additionally, your selection must not back down when your wishes are countered. 

Lastly, serving as a power of attorney is a significant responsibility. Whether you choose a trusted friend or family member, make sure the person is well-suited to the task. Someone who already has a lot on their plate or a person who shies away from responsibility is unlikely to live up to your expectations. Keep in mind, having a power of attorney provides you peace of mind in the event you're incapacitated. If you can't rely on the person to be there when you need assistance, it's best to make another selection. 

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