Health Care Surrogate

Heart Monitoring

In Florida, when it comes time to think about medical decisions that must be made on a person’s behalf when they are unable to do so themselves, one planning option is to appoint a Health Care Surrogate to make health care decisions if a person should become Incapacitated. Naming a Health Care Surrogate is one aspect of the broader category of Estate Planning.

What is the difference between a medical power of attorney and a health care surrogate?

A Power of Attorney is a document that gives authorization to someone of chosen by the maker, known as their Agent, to act on your behalf. A Power of Attorney may be limited to very specific circumstances, such as allowing your agent to sign papers on your behalf to sell your home when you are not able to be present yourself. A Durable General Power of Attorney may grant more powers and gives the Agent the authority to make decisions on their behalf even if they become Incapacitated mentally or physically.

The Durable designation is important because a non-Durable Power of Attorney is no longer valid once a person is Incapacitated

A Power of Attorney can grant authority over only financial decisions, only health care decisions, or power over both.

Similarly, a Health Care Surrogate is also a person to whom the authority to make medical decisions for another is granted should they be unable to do so themselves. A Healthcare Surrogate Designation is more limited than a Medical Power of Attorney and is only empowered to act regarding medical decisions. care and treatment. A durable power of attorney is valid without requiring this determination by a doctor.

What is the difference between a healthcare surrogate and a healthcare proxy?

In Florida, a Health Care Proxy has the same decision making authority as a Health Care Surrogate, but a proxy is someone who is appointed to this role when the patient has not designated a Health Care Surrogate, or the surrogate is unable or unwilling to perform his or her duties.

A Health Care Proxy in Florida is designated in a specific order as laid out by state law. 

What is a designation of health care surrogate?

A Health Care Surrogate Designation is an important part of Estate Planning. Without having designated someone to act on their behalf, the Court may be required to appoint someone based on the order described in the Florida health care proxy statute. If this law dictates that a person be appointed Proxy, due to another’s legal or actual incapacity the person for whom the Proxy is appointed may have no input with the selection. This is why it is so important as part of your Estate Planning to look into Advance Directives.

An Advance Directive is a document that allows a patient to make choices about his or her own future medical treatment and to designate someone to make these decisions on their behalf once they are no longer able to communicate such decisions.  An Advance Directive is a general term that encompasses several types of related but different documents.

  • A Power of Attorney is a document that allows a pre-selected person to make decisions for another.
  • A Health Care Surrogate Designation only applies to health care and treatment decisions. 
  • A Living Will describes which types of life-prolonging medical treatments you wish to receive or specifically refuse before they are administered and removed if they have already been administered.

Can I revoke a health care surrogate designation?

State law permits a patient to revoke a surrogate designation in several ways. 

How do I appoint a healthcare surrogate?

  • For all types of Estate Planning, it is best to consult an Attorney who specializes in these areas of the law for guidance and help in properly preparing the documents that you will need to make your end-of-life wishes known. The Attorneys at the law offices of David Howard Goldberg, P.L. have experience assisting clients with making these difficult decisions. We have experience with drafting and administering all forms and types of Estate Planning documentation. They have experience at both the Trial and Appellate levels with issues relating to the creation and administration of such documents. 

Contact us at David Howard Goldberg, P.L. for advanced directives and end-of-life planning advice from experienced and qualified attorneys in the Miami area.