There may come a time when you are unable to make end-of-life health care decisions on your own. If you are left incapacitated by illness or injury these decisions may fall to your family, who might be unwilling or unable to carry out your final wishes in a manner you see fit. That is where a health care surrogate comes in, who is a person responsible for making decisions on your behalf while also keeping your wishes in mind. Forbes explains the importance of choosing a suitable health care surrogate when estate planning.

When looking for a surrogate, there are a few essential factors to keep in mind. First of all, the person must be able to make decisions without letting their emotions get in the way. This is why it can be difficult to serve as a surrogate for a family member. A good surrogate will see that your directives are carried out, despite their personal feelings on the matter. They will also be able to serve as an advocate for you when you are unable to communicate.

This can entail asking questions of medical staff and seeking out clarifications when information is vague or hard to understand. Doing so can be intimidating, especially when a person is being provided health care for a terminal or life-threatening issue. Your surrogate must also be able to make decisions quickly when faced with changing information on your health status.

Once you have considered the above and made your decision, the next step is to discuss the matter with your surrogate to ensure you are on the same page. You must also take it a step further by completing a health care surrogate form, also known as an advance directive. This form provides legal backing to your decisions and also spells out explicitly what you want when it comes to end-of-life care. An estate planning attorney can help you fill out the proper forms and ensure they are legally binding.