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3 questions to ask your heath care agent

Estate planning allows Ohioans to maintain some control over what happens with their assets after their death. If you have a comprehensive estate plan, you may also retain a say in your medical treatment. After all, with medical power of attorney, you can name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.

You want your health care agent to make the same decisions about treatments and procedures you would make. While there are no guarantees, of course, choosing the right agent is critical. Here are three questions you may want to ask anyone you are considering inviting to do the job.

1. Can you handle some heat?

You undoubtedly have some clear ideas about the medical procedures you want doctors to perform and the ones you would rather they skip. Your relatives, friends and even physicians may have other ideas. Consequently, to advocate effectively for your interests, your health care agent may have to resist pressure.

2. Do you sympathize?

While your health care agent need not agree with your wishes, he or she must be willing to fight for them. This may require the ability to sympathize with your positions. If a potential agent refuses to do what you want, you have not yet found the right one.

3. Are you available?

Whether you are in good or declining health, you cannot predict the future. Because timing is often essential in health care matters, you want your health care agent to be available to make decisions when necessary. While your agent does not necessarily need to live near you, he or she should be readily reachable by telephone.

Finding the right health care agent may require some time and effort. Ultimately, by taking a disciplined approach to your selection, you can pick an acceptable agent and then choose a backup one.