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Health care: Power of attorney vs health care proxy

On Behalf of | May 8, 2020 | Estate Planning

Have you planned for the possibility that you might become incapacitated or disabled? Many people do not properly address this issue during their estate planning efforts. When left to chance, this estate plan omission could result in hardship for your surviving family members.

We understand that thinking about the possibility of losing your ability to make decisions is extremely uncomfortable. However, it is an important part of thorough estate planning. You can choose from several options to address incapacity. This post will discuss how the power of attorney compares to a health care proxy under Florida law.

Health care power of attorney

This legal document authorizes the person of your choice to make medical decisions on your behalf. For maximum control over your health care in the event of incapacity, it is wise to be as specific as possible. Some of the powers granted to the person acting on your behalf include:

  • Refusing or consenting to medical treatment
  • Choosing your medical providers and treatment facilities
  • Making decisions about your body and your organs after death
  • Providing access to your health care and medical records

Health care proxy

According to Florida statutes, the health care proxy (aka surrogate) grants a person the right to make decisions for you upon your incapacitation. If you have not included health care decisions in your estate planning documents (power of attorney, living will, etc.), the court will appoint a proxy on your behalf.

Typically, the court will choose a family member to make these decisions. If such a person is not available, it may appoint a friend or even a social worker to act for you.

We encourage you to consider your future health needs if you have not yet addressed possible incapacitation through estate planning. If you have trouble finding a solution that gives you comfort, consider speaking with a legal representative. You may also find more information about these topics by continuing to explore our website.