One of the most important estate planning decisions you will make is selecting your health care power of attorney. A health care power of attorney, also known as a health care proxy, is an individual you designate to make medical and health decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so yourself.

Naming this person can bring you peace of mind and resolve family conflict. But it can be tricky to narrow down your choice to one person. Here are a few characteristics to keep an eye out for when deciding on your power of attorney.

1. Trustworthiness

Of course, one crucial trait in a good power of attorney is dependability. By naming this person, you are trusting them to follow your wishes and stand up for them against differing opinions from family members and doctors. Make sure you choose someone you can count on to do the right thing.

2. Proximity

While it is not absolutely necessary for your health care representative to live close to you, it is certainly an important aspect to consider. This is because this person may need to promptly travel to a hospital in the event of an emergency. If the person you choose lives out of state, this may not be feasible.

3. Assertiveness

Acting as a power of attorney is not for the faint of heart. Not only does this person need to make difficult decisions, but he or she may face backlash while doing so. Find someone who will not back down under pressure.

4. Communication skills

Think about how you want your power of attorney to communicate your wishes with other people. You want someone who is naturally calm and articulate. If you choose someone who gets flustered or intimidated, it may not lead to the best outcome.

The first people you can start considering may include your spouse, close friend or relative.