While a great deal of estate planning touches on tying up loose ends after a person dies in California, there are aspects pertaining to when an individual is still alive. For that reason, choosing a medical power of attorney is essential to a proper estate plan.

WebMD breaks down what a medical power of attorney is and how to choose the right individual to carry out one’s medical desires. The role comes with a great deal of responsibility, making it essential to choose the right person.

What it is

Should a person fall into a coma, lose brain function or become otherwise unable to communicate or make decisions for him or herself, having a medical power of attorney lets family and friends know what type of medical care that person desires. For instance, a person may not want to remain alive on life support or donate her or his organs after death.

How to choose an agent

While a person can note certain medical decisions in her or his will, other questions may crop up after the individual becomes incapacitated. For that reason, a medical power of attorney requires an agent to speak on the incapacitated individual’s behalf. This person should be wholly trustworthy, responsible and not afraid to make hard decisions, notes Yahoo! Finance.

When to talk with an agent

A person needs to know she or he is an agent in a will. The individual planning her or his estate should sit down with the selected agent to let the person know what the role involves and ask if the person feels up to the task.

It is best to involve a legal professional while drawing up a medical power of attorney. Doing so ensures the completion and filing of all necessary paperwork.