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Health Care Directives

Legal Planning

Health Care Directives

Should more than one person be named as my Health Care Agent?

There are several things to consider in making this decision.

First, you may name a Health Care Agent and then another person or persons serve as alternate agents should your Health Care Agent not be “reasonably available”. “Reasonably available” means able to be contacted and willing and able to act in a timely manner considering the urgency of the Principal’s health care needs.

Example: Health Care Agent Alex is mountain climbing in Tibet and can’t be reached when health care decisions need to be made for the Principal. Betty is named as first alternate in Principal’s Health Care Directive, but Betty does not want this responsibility and refuses to act as Health Care Agent. Charlie is named as second alternate and is available and willing to act as the Health Care Agent. Charlie is then the Health Care Agent for the Principal.

Second, you may decide whether your Health Care Agent should act alone when making your health care decisions or whether you want there to be an agreement between two or more Health Care Agents that you appoint. If you choose to require that two or more Health Care Agents make decisions for your care together, keep in mind that there may be disagreements between them that could prevent your wishes from being carried about. You may want to provide instructions for how decisions should be made and how to resolve any disputes that may arise between them.