Florida, as many know, is a state that many people choose for retirement. Our warm weather and sunny views make it a great place for anyone and everyone. Each state has its own legal requirements for estate law, wills, trusts, living wills, and designated health care surrogates. This is why it is important to inform people who are moving from another state exactly what our laws require when it comes to the very important designation of health care surrogates here in Florida. The Florida statute 765.202 – Designation of a health care surrogate, governs how someone appoints a surrogate in our state. A health care surrogate is important if you become incapacitated and cannot make medical decisions for yourself, in this instance the surrogate will be able to make the decisions for you.
Essentially the law demands that there be a written document designating a surrogate (someone who can make end of life or medical decisions on your behalf), what their duties consist of and any limitations to them, and that the document be signed by the principal (you) and two other witnesses that are not the surrogate or a blood relative. The latter stipulations protects you from being led astray by someone who may have unpleasant intentions. The document will also have legal language for a proxy at a health care facility where the surrogate is unavailable.
Now, many of you may have already completed documents like this in another state. Depending on the state, Florida may accept those. However, to be certain you will wish to consult with an attorney in our area. Having someone making a medical decision on your behalf is a huge responsibility for that person and a huge responsibility for you and your family when selecting him or her. It is good practice to have an attorney create a health care surrogate in order to ensure it is drafted and signed properly according to Florida law.
Designating a health care surrogate while you are of sound mind can save those around you from jumping through difficult hoops. Call us today for a free consultation.