Estate Planning

Health Care Surrogate and Advance Directives

As part of a well rounded estate plan, a designation of Health Care Surrogate allows you to appoint another person (or persons) to make all health care decisions for you, should you become so disabled you cannot communicate or make those decisions yourself. For example, a person may want to have an advance directive to deny treatment if they are ever in a permanent coma.

The person that you designate would have the authority to confer with your doctors and make medical treatment decisions for you at any time during any period of incapacity. This person can be a spouse, an adult child or other family member, a friend, or anyone you thoroughly trust. The surrogate chosen by you, he or she will have the authority to consult with doctors and give consent for medical procedure that the surrogates believes the principal would have agreed to under the current circumstances. You should also designate an alternate surrogate, in the event the original surrogate is unable to perform his or her duties. 

In Florida, a Health Care Surrogate is optional. If you do not have a Health Care Surrogate, then Florida law controls who will be able to make these decisions for you.  In accordance to Florida Statute  s. 765.401,

if an incapacitated or disabled patient has not executed an advance directive, or designated a surrogate to execute an advance directive, or the designated or alternate surrogate is no longer available to make health care decisions, health care decisions, in the following order of priority, may be made for the patient by any of the following individuals:

  1. A judicially appointed guardian;
  2. Patients spouse;
  3. An adult child of the patient, or if the patient has more than one child, a majority of the adult children who are reasonably available for consultation;
  4. Parent of the patient;
  5. The adult sibling of the patient or, if the patient has more than one sibling, a majority of the adult siblings who are reasonably available for consultation;
  6. An adult relative of the patient who has exhibited special care and concern for the patient and who has maintained regular contact with the patient and who is familiar with the patient’s activities, health, and religious or moral beliefs;
  7. A close friend of the patient; or
  8. A clinical social worker licensed pursuant to chapter 491.

If you are interested and need assistance with a health care surrogate, contact Lindsay Ruiz Bash, P.A. Contact the firm's office to arrange a free initial consultation with your Tampa Estate Planning attorney. Attorney Bash is also available to meet after hours by appointment only. We proudly serve the whole Tampa Bay area: Hillsborough County, Pasco County, New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Dade City, Carrollwood, Temple Terrace, Zephyrhills, Brandon, Lutz, South Tampa, Plant City, Riverview, New Port Richey, Land O' Lakes and all the surrounding areas.

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