Absolutely no! While family members are the default decision makes for individual who do not make a plan for health care planning before they become disabled, the statute in no way favors family for the appointment of health care agents in their plan.
While it is most common in our practice to see client appointing spouses, registered domestic partners, adult children, and siblings we also frequently see clients appointing friends, unmarried partners, and even professional fiduciaries to fill these roles.
Reasons to appoint non-family members vary. Some clients do not have family. Others have family but they are distant from them either geographically or emotionally. They may have create families of choice that are different from their legal family but who are their true support system. Some just want to spare their family the burden of making end of life choices. Whatever the reason, an appointment of non-family members is always only allowed and frequently appropriate.
We frequently encourage clients to look beyond family, particularly when the only possible family members are parents. Making the choice to end treatment for your adult child is difficult for a parent even when it is obvious to others that it is the choice the child would make if they could choose. It may be fairer to that parent to place someone else in the position of making that ultimate choice.
If you would like to discuss options for your health care planning, schedule a consultation at 206-459-1908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.