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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Healthcare Surrogates

A change in Florida law that goes into effect October 1 will have a significant impact on the concept and designation of healthcare surrogates in the state.

Prior to this change, a determination of incapacity has to be made before the healthcare surrogate can act.  Because a person may regain capacity and in some instances, especially with the elderly, may vacillate in and out of capacity, a redetermination of incapacity is frequently necessary to provide ongoing authorization for the healthcare surrogate to act. This process can make it more challenging for a surrogate to provide effective and timely assistance. Further, some competent persons want the help of a healthcare surrogate with the sometimes complex task of understanding healthcare treatments and procedures and with making healthcare decisions.

The changes to the law allow a person to designate a healthcare surrogate, who may act at any time, including while an adult is still competent and able to make his or her own decisions. While competent, the decisions of the principal control over any contrary decision of the surrogate.

Another change to the law creates the ability to designate a healthcare surrogate for the benefit of a minor when the parents, legal custodian, or legal guardian of the minor cannot be timely contacted by a healthcare provider or are unable to provide consent for medical treatment.

 


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