Retirement & Financial Planning Report

A health care power of attorney, sometimes known as a health care proxy or a medical power of attorney, should be part of your estate plan. This document names an agent to make decisions about your medical treatment if you become unable to do so.

The agent named in your health care power does not have to be the same person that you name as agent for a “regular” power of attorney, one that affects your finances. For your health care power, you should select someone you trust to see that you get all necessary care–if you have medical professional in the family, that would be a good candidate. Financial expertise is not required.


Depending on state law, a health care power may have to be signed in the presence of two qualified witnesses, and it might have to be notarized. In may go into effect when a doctor (whom you can name) states in writing that you lack the ability to make or communicate health care decisions.