Picking someone to have your medical power of attorney wasn’t easy. After all, you had to find someone who was willing and able to take on the responsibility. They also had to be someone who understands your wishes and is comfortable following them.
After a tough decision-making process, it feels good to finally have your paperwork in place — but you’re not quite done.
4 things you need to do after picking your health care proxy
First, you need to make sure that you have all your original documents in order, as well as several copies on hand. This includes not only the papers that identify who holds your power of attorney for medical decisions but also you advance directives or living will.
Here’s what you need to do with them:
- Give a copy of all the paperwork to your chosen proxy and go over them one more time together (to make sure your wishes are fully understood).
- Make a list of your primary medical providers. Include their names, contact information and why you see them. Give that list to your health care proxy for future reference (and remember to update them if things change).
- Take a copy of your paperwork (including the proxy information and your advance directives) with you to your next appointment with your primary care doctor and ask for them to be put on file. Do the same with the local hospital. That helps eliminate confusion in a crisis.
- Tell your other family members who holds your medical power of attorney. Whether you’ve chosen a family member or friend, some of your relatives may incorrectly assume they will be in charge in a crisis. Telling them now could make things easier when the time comes.
Working through this process can be emotionally difficult (and time-consuming), but the security you gain from thorough estate and end-of-life planning is worth it.