Health Care Surrogate Designations: What to Know About Florida Health Care Surrogates

Sometimes the unthinkable happens. If the unthinkable does occur, often times there are difficult decisions that need to be made. If you find yourself incapacitated for any reason, then you are at the mercy of what others may think is in your best interest. However, there may be one particular person that you think would be best to make any medical decisions on your behalf in case you are incapacitated. If this is the case, then you may want to consider a health care surrogate. In Florida, health care surrogate can be arranged by a Florida probate attorney. At Bret Jones, P.A., we can speak with you about all the information regarding a Florida health care surrogate and what you should know about it.

Difficult Times & Difficult Decisions

difficult times When a medical emergency occurs, it can be very difficult. It can be hard to even imagine a medical emergency or other medical situation where we may be completely incapacitated. However, there is a chance that this may happen at one time or another in our lives. Unfortunately, that is the truth. Fortunately, there is something that can be done in order to plan ahead in case such circumstances occur. In other words, there is a way to be prepared in case of your incapacitation. If you want to choose who will be the one to make your medical decision for you in case of your incapacitation, then you should consider designating a health care surrogate.

What is a Health Care Surrogate?

A health care surrogate is someone who you choose to make medical decisions on your behalf in case you are unable to do so. By choosing someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in case of your incapacitation, you are ensuring that a person who knows your wishes will do what you desire. A Florida health care surrogate is one way to ensure that someone of your choosing is making medical decisions on your behalf.

health care surrogate explainedIn life, there are things that happen beyond on our control. Yet, there is something that we can do in case there is a medical situation where we are incapacitated, by choosing who will make medical decisions on our behalf through via a health care surrogate designation. In Florida, health care surrogate information can be explained to you in detail when meeting with a probate attorney. If you have any questions you should meet with an attorney to speak with you about all the nuances of the health care surrogate designation. Although it is relatively straightforward, each person may have questions that they want answered. It is important to respect the fact that each person has a unique personality and life story. Each person’s experiences in life shape the way they view the world. When you want a clearer understanding of any legal undertaking, such as Florida health care surrogates, there is nothing wrong with meeting with an attorney to get further information.

When you meet with an attorney regarding a health care surrogate designation, they will let you know all you need to in order to make an informed decision. Of course, there is certain paperwork that will need to be filled out, and you will need to make sure that the person you are choosing consents to act as your health care surrogate.

Florida Health Care Surrogate

Choosing who will act as your health care surrogate is an important decision. You may or may not know who you want to be your health care surrogate. One thing that is important to remember is that a health care surrogate must consent to act on your behalf. Let’s take a look at the Florida Statutes regarding Florida health care surrogates.

The Florida Health Care Surrogate Act, Florida Statutes 765.201-765.205, detail what is required to designate a health care surrogate. According to Florida Statute 765.202(1):

“A written document designating a surrogate to make health care decisions for a principal or receive health information on behalf of a principal, or both, shall be signed by the principal in the presence of two subscribing adult witnesses. A principal unable to sign the instrument may, in the presence of witnesses, direct that another person sign the principal’s name as required herein. An exact copy of the instrument shall be provided to the surrogate.” (2018).

There is a brief form included in the statute that may be used. An attorney will provide you with the correct form and ensure that everything is in compliance with the law. Florida Statute 765.205(1)(a-d), states the responsibilities of the surrogate. Some of these responsibilities include:

“(1) The surrogate, in accordance with the principal’s instructions, unless such authority has been expressly limited by the principal, shall:

(a) Have authority to act for the principal and to make all health care decisions for the principal during the principal’s incapacity.

(b) Consult expeditiously with appropriate health care providers to provide informed consent, and make only health care decisions for the principal which he or she believes the principal would have made under the circumstances if the principal were capable of making such decisions. If there is no indication of what the principal would have chosen, the surrogate may consider the patient’s best interest in deciding that proposed treatments are to be withheld or that treatments currently in effect are to be withdrawn.

(c) Provide written consent using an appropriate form whenever consent is required, including a physician’s order not to resuscitate.

(d) Be provided access to the appropriate health information of the principal.” (2018).

The statute also addresses health care surrogates for minors, Fla. Stat. 765.2035. In addition,  it is important to remember that a health care designation will remain unless it there is a time of termination stated in the designation or the designation is revoked by the principal. This is just one of the many details that an attorney will discuss with you when you are deciding your health care surrogate. There is additional documentation that you can add to your health care surrogate designation, such as a living will. You can ask an attorney about these documents. Reach out to us at Bret Jones, P.A. for additional information about Florida health care surrogates and these additional documents.

Contact Bret Jones, P.A. for more information on Florida Health Care Surrogates

contact bret jonesDon’t leave difficult decisions to the last minute. Make sure you designate someone you can trust to make medical decisions on your behalf in case of your incapacitation. Once you have designated someone you trust as your health care surrogate, you can rest easy knowing that that person is in charge of your medical decisions if the need arises. If there are some unanswered questions that you may have about Florida health care surrogates, then contact us at Bret Jones, P.A. Our team, consisting of probate attorneys and legal staff, would be glad to answer any questions you may have. In addition, your first consultation with us at Bret Jones, P.A. is free. There’s no reason for you not to reach out to us for more information. We would be glad to answer any questions that you may have about Florida heath care surrogates. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today.