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Understanding healthcare proxies

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Estate Planning

When it comes to decisions concerning your health, having a plan in place brings peace of mind about your future. One option you have for addressing your needs is designating a healthcare proxy.

If you are not familiar with the concept of healthcare proxies, it is helpful to learn about why they matter for you and your loved ones.

What is a healthcare proxy?

Simply put, a healthcare proxy is someone you choose to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. This person, often a family member or close friend, steps in to ensure respect for your wishes by communicating them effectively to healthcare professionals.

Choosing your proxy

Selecting a healthcare proxy is a significant decision. You should pick someone you trust, who understands your values and preferences regarding medical treatment. Discuss your wishes with your chosen proxy so they are well-informed and can advocate for you in the event you cannot express your preferences.


In addition to appointing a healthcare proxy, you can also create a living will. A living will documents your specific care preferences, such as whether you want life-sustaining treatments or not. While a healthcare proxy makes decisions in real time, a living will serves as a guide, offering clarity about your medical choices.


Once you have chosen a healthcare proxy and documented your wishes, open communication is key. Share your decisions with family members, medical providers and anyone else involved in your care. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and can respect and fulfill your healthcare preferences.

Once you understand how proxies work, you can make informed healthcare decisions that align with your values, even when you cannot speak for yourself.