Are you considering creating a designation of healthcare surrogate? If the answer is yes, then there are important things you need to know before you begin the process. Estate planning documents can become obsolete, and so can the laws governing them. Every time modifications are made to the laws governing estate planning documents, you need to review your entire estate plan to see if your documents are still in compliance. If not, you may have to update your plan.
Do you already have a designation of healthcare surrogate? How long ago did you create it? Have you ever updated it?
What is a Healthcare Surrogate?
Simply put, a healthcare surrogate is an individual that will make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event you become unable to make those decisions yourself. Ideally, this individual should be someone you trust. Once you choose a healthcare surrogate, you must express your wishes in regards to your healthcare to this individual. In other words, you need to let your surrogate know what kind of medical treatment you would like to receive. Would you like to receive life support in the event you end up in a coma even if your doctors say you have very little chances of ever recovering? Would you like feeding tube support if you become unable to move?
What is a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate?
A designation of healthcare surrogate is simply a document in which you name your healthcare surrogate and authorize that person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated. Ideally, every estate plan in Florida should include this document.
When creating a designation of healthcare surrogate, you should work with an experienced attorney. Why? Because there are drafting rules you need to follow, and failing to do so can render the document invalid. When it comes to creating estate planning documents, making mistakes is easy. The law does not require you to work with an attorney; however, you absolutely should.
Important Changes to the Rules on Creating a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate
In 2015, Florida made important changes to the rules on healthcare surrogate designations, which may require you to update yours. The changes allow competent individuals to receive assistance in making healthcare decisions without the need for determination of incapacity, which is a big change. Previously, Florida required a formal finding of a person’s incapacity by a physician in order to activate that person’s healthcare surrogate, which often led to big delays and many other problems.
Another of the changes made to the rules on creating a designation of healthcare surrogate in the State of Florida allows surrogates to make healthcare decisions without having to wait until the person that created the designation becomes incapacitated. As long as the healthcare surrogate designation expressly states that the surrogate’s authority can begin sooner, the surrogate can legally:
- File applications for public benefits;
- Provide and withdraw consent for treatment; and
- Access the patient’s confidential healthcare information.
Do you have any questions about the process of creating a designation of healthcare surrogate or about estate planning in general? Do you already have a designation of healthcare surrogate? When was the last time you updated it? Have you ever updated it? No? We can help you. At Jurado & Farshchian, P.L., you will find the best Estate Planning Attorneys in the State of Florida. Whether you need to update some or all of your estate planning documents or create an estate plan for the first time, the members of our team are ready to help you.
Call Jurado & Farshchian, P.L. today at (305) 921-0440 or send us an email to Romy@JFLawFirm.com to schedule an initial consultation.