A health care proxy is a person who will communicate on your behalf if you’re incapacitated by illness or injury. Because a serious health issue can happen at any time, health care proxies are an essential part of all estate plans. Along with making the decision in a timely manner, you also want to ensure that the person you select is up for the task. Forbes explains how you can choose a suitable health care proxy.

Part of being an advocate for another person requires asking questions of medical staff. Information may be confusing, especially when provided during an emergency medical situation. Your health care proxy must be able to ask questions and make decisions in rapidly changing situations. This takes mental resilience which not all people possess. You also want to give thought to your emotional connection with the person.

While it’s certainly true your loved ones only want what’s best for you, it can be difficult to make decisions when they affect the life of the person you love. As a result, close friends and family may be unable to carry out your decisions as you see fit, especially if you wish to forgo life-saving procedures. Having an honest discussion with the person before moving forward is key. That way he or she will understand what exactly is required and you can gauge whether the person will be able to carry out your end-of-life desires comfortably.

Once the decision has been made, make sure you include it in your estate planning documents. Along with naming your health care proxy, also lay out your desired medical care in a life-threatening situation. If you’re unsure whether your estate plan is legally binding, consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine the best actions to take.