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How and when to designate a healthcare surrogate 

On Behalf of | May 11, 2023 | Estate Planning

When it comes to medical care, it’s important to have a plan in place for how you want to be treated if you’re unable to make decisions for yourself. One way to do this is by designating a healthcare surrogate. This person will be responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf when you cannot do so. A medical power of attorney is authorized to decide your medical treatment and end-of-life care. 

You might want to designate a healthcare surrogate for many reasons. For example, if you’re going to be undergoing surgery, you may want someone to make decisions for you if there are complications. Or if you have a chronic illness, you may want someone to make decisions for you if you cannot do so yourself.

When to designate a healthcare surrogate

Ideally, you should designate a healthcare surrogate before you need one. This way, you can discuss your medical wishes to help them understand your needs. If you don’t have a healthcare surrogate and cannot make decisions for yourself, the court may have to appoint a guardian to make medical decisions on your behalf. This can be lengthy and expensive, and the court may not appoint someone you would have chosen.

How to designate a healthcare surrogate

The process for designating a healthcare surrogate should begin with choosing someone who knows you well and understands your medical wishes. To be certain, talk them through issues like whether you want life-sustaining treatment, organ donation and how you want to be cared for at the end of your life.

Only once you and the other person are on the same page should you complete the necessary forms to make the healthcare surrogacy official. Please note that you’ll need to sign the forms before witnesses or a notary public to make the advance directive valid. Finally, ensure your surrogate, family members and healthcare providers have copies of the forms.

Designating a healthcare surrogate is an important step that everyone should consider taking. Doing so can help ensure that your medical wishes are carried out, reduce stress and conflict among your loved ones and provide peace of mind for yourself and your family.