You can appoint an Agent to make personal decisions on your behalf. You can appoint one person (for example, your spouse) or more than one person (for example, your children) to so act. It is wise to appoint an alternate Agent or Agents to act, should your first named Agent die, or for any reason be unable or unwilling to carry out their duties as your Agent. You can also specify that an Agent is to act for a specified period of time, and then shall be replaced upon a specified event. For example, you can state that you wish your brother to be your Agent, until your daughter reaches the age of 18 and is willing and able to act, at which point in time, the appointment of your daughter shall come into effect.
A personal directive does not have to contain an Agent appointment and can simply set forth your wishes regarding personal decisions; however, most people do use the personal directive to choose who will be acting as their Agent. The Agent must be 18 years of age when called upon to act and must have the mental capacity required to make decisions on your behalf. The person you appoint should be someone you trust to make health care and personal decisions based on what they know you would have wanted, and to make those decisions in your best interests. This might be your spouse, adult interdependent partner (common law spouse), adult children, family member or trusted friend.
You do not have to choose the same person to be both your Agent under your Personal Directive and your Attorney under your Enduring Power of Attorney. In some instances, it can be preferable to have a different person for each role. If you appoint more than one Agent, you can specify that they are to make decisions jointly, you can state whose decision is to have precedence if they cannot reach a consensus, you can specify a means by which disputes between Agents are resolved, or you can state that they each have separate areas of authority.
Open discussion with your Agent is essential. You cannot specify within the Personal Directive all the possible decisions which your Agent may face in connection with your care. It is important to discuss with your Agent your wishes in advance so they will be able to carry out their duties in the way you would have wanted. It is also crucial to ensure in advance that your Agent is willing to assume this time-consuming and significant responsibility.