Choosing a Health Care Proxy
Get tips and suggestions on who to choose as your health care proxy and what they do


Who should I choose as my health care proxy?

A health care proxy is someone who you trust to know and communicate your wishes.  Think about who in your life you trust and know well enough to have this person make decisions for you when you can’t.  Will this person be able to make life or death decisions for you and honor your wishes?  Could the burden of making these decisions be too much?  The person that you choose should be able to make decisions and clearly communicate those decisions.  Also, note that whoever you choose will be given access to all of your medical records and health information.  It is also smart to choose a person close to where you live or someone that will be able to come to the location of where you are.  


Your health care proxy must be 18 or over (check your state’s requirements) and legally competent. It is important to note that a health care proxy does not make financial decisions, only decisions related to health care.

Do I need an alternate health care proxy?

While it’s not required to name an alternate, you can name an alternate health care proxy in case your first choice becomes unavailable.

Can you change who you name as your health care proxy?

Yes. If your health care proxy otherwise known as a power of attorney for health care needs to change, simply fill out a new health care proxy form, have it executed, save it and share it.  This most recent health care proxy executed is legally held valid, provided you had capacity when you completed it.  Revoke your previous health care proxy in writing by telling your health care agent, your alternate, your doctor, your nurse or your lawyer that you are revoking it; or by doing anything that clearly shows you no longer intend the previous healthcare proxy to have effect.  

How often should I change my health care proxy?

Review your health care proxy regularly.  We at Gentreo recommend once per year to make sure the names, addresses and telephone numbers of your health care agent and alternate are current, and that your health care agent and alternate are still willing to serve.

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