A health care proxy is a document that you sign identifying the person that you want to make your personal and medical decisions for you if you are no longer able to do so yourself. Your doctors and other medical providers will look to this person, called your “agent,” to make your medical decisions. Unlike the durable power of attorney, which takes effect upon signing, the health care proxy will only be used (“invoked”) if your doctor determines that you are no longer able to make or communicate your own medical decisions. Because your health care agent will be making vital decisions about you and your health care when you can no longer do so, it is very important that you speak with him or her about your wishes concerning health care, including end of life decisions. It may be an uncomfortable conversation but it will save a lot of uncertainty and heartache later. As with the durable power of attorney, Attorney Harvey considers a health care proxy an essential component of a proper estate plan.