It’s important that healthcare providers discuss the matter of who should represent the patient (or who will do so in the event of their future legal incompetence). This can be either a family member (default surrogate) or someone else designated by the patient (patient-designated ). Alternatively, the representative could be appointed by a judge: a guardian. In practice, the scope of a surrogate ’s powers is often unclear and poor communication is identified as a stumbling block. The Committee advises professional organisations and patient associations to draw up a guideline that healthcare providers, representatives and patients can use when discussing their respective expectations.