Even though you are young, if you’re looking into creating an estate plan, you should also consider designating someone as your health care proxy. A health care proxy is a legal form that gives someone else the ability to make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them on your own.
A health care proxy is important. Without it, the hospital and medical team will take actions that seem best at the time. Those actions may not align with what you want. Your care could also be delayed while the medical team waits to see if any kind of health care proxy paperwork or do-not-resuscitate (DNR) form is in place.
How soon should you have a health care proxy?
It is important that you have a health care proxy as soon as possible after you turn 18 years of age. There is no way to predict if and when you’ll be hurt in life or suffer from a disease that makes it impossible for you to communicate your wishes. Fortunately, the health care proxy will always be there to support your wishes.
You can update your proxy as you age, too. Most young people designate a parent or sibling as their health care proxy, but you may want to change that designation to your significant other later.
What should you do with the health care proxy form?
Once you have the form drawn up by your attorney and signed by the appropriate number of witnesses, it’s essential to give the paperwork to the agent you chose (as well as to your doctor). You should keep a copy in your home and leave your attorney’s contact information if anyone has questions about the form.