What are a health care surrogate’s responsibilities in Florida?

| Nov 20, 2020 | Estate planning

Many elderly Floridians have certain desires when it comes to health care if they are incapacitated. To address these issues, they may want to have a health care advance directive. Understanding exactly what this entails can be complicated and it is wise to have a grasp of what it means from the start. A fundamental part of that is knowing who to name as a health care surrogate and what the person’s responsibilities are under state law. As with any critical life decision, having compassionate and capable legal assistance is essential.

What a health care surrogate can do

The surrogate has the right to act on behalf of the person who he or she is representing (the principal) and make decisions in their stead while they are incapacitated. To do this, the surrogate will have consultations with health care providers and give consent based on what the principal would want were he or she able to express those desires themselves. When there is no clear knowledge of what the person would have done, the surrogate will assess the situation and consider the person’s best interests in the determination. That can include giving or not giving certain treatments.

In circumstances where written consent is required, the surrogate will provide it. The person’s health information will also be provided to the surrogate. When certain benefits are needed such as Medicaid or Medicare, the surrogate can apply for it. That will include access to the person’s financial information. If releasing health information to others is necessary, the surrogate also has the right to do that with this type of agreement.

When naming a health care surrogate, it is useful to have legal assistance

The responsibilities of a health care surrogate are significant. If a person wants a health care surrogate, it is imperative to understand what the person will be able to do if there is incapacitation and various decisions regarding health care and other factors must be made. For many, a health care surrogate is not ideal and another strategy would be preferable. For these and other considerations related to health care in the event of incapacitation, having legal advice and guidance can be beneficial to make an informed decision. A firm with experience in estate planning for seniors might be able to help.