What should happen if you can’t communicate your wishes?
Without a medical power of attorney – also called a health care surrogate designation in Florida, health care decisions will be left to medical professionals or a loved one who may not be aware of your wishes. Centonzio Law can help you create an enforceable medical power of attorney for the care and treatment you want.
What is a Medical Power of Attorney?
When you appropriately fill out a health care surrogate designation or medical power of attorney form—you (as the principal) assign a trusted person as your health care agent. If you become incapacitated and cannot express what type of medical treatment you want, your agent will have decision-making authority regarding your medical care.
Your designation of a health care surrogate can apply right away or upon incapacity and is legally binding. Your agent can obtain medical information on your behalf and ensure your prearranged medical decisions are carried out. This is particularly useful when you are elderly or have an elderly parent that may need daily assistance.
Having a valid medical power of attorney in Florida is a crucial aspect of estate planning. At Centonzio Law, our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team can guide you through the process so you can be assured that your documents and everything you need is in order.
Power of Attorney & Health Care Agents
Your surrogate or healthcare agent can be any competent adult selected by you. This lets you choose the person most likely to carry out your wishes.
The decisions or rights your agent will have under your advanced directive may include:
- Direct the physicians and other medical professionals who will treat you.
- Decide where you will receive care, i.e., a hospital, nursing home, or home.
- Give or deny consent for medical treatments.
- Go to court, if necessary, about whether medical treatment should be given or withheld.
- Decide how your body will be treated after death, including organ donation, burial, or cremation.
Florida Health Care Surrogate Designations
Florida Statutes Chapter 765 Part II includes a POA form for healthcare directives surrogate designations. This is what’s be used to express your wishes, provide instructions, or include restrictions about medical treatment and the powers that your health care surrogate will have.
As you can imagine there will be a lot your medical power of attorney will need to cover. To ensure everything meets your specific circumstances and other scenarios that may arise, it’s best to consult an attorney. You can also have an estate plan with a power of attorney that includes financial transactions and medical directives.
Other Types of Power of Attorney
- General Power of Attorney: Gives permission to conduct financial transactions.
- Limited Power of Attorney: Restricts authority to a single transaction, specific transactions, or within a set timeframe.
- Durable Power of Attorney: While some POAs terminate if you’re incapacitated, this does not.
- Enhanced Durable Power of Attorney: Prepared with unique considerations for long-term care planning.
You’re Not Too Young for a Medical Power of Attorney
If you’re an adult at any age, it’s essential to think about these issues now. Why? Should something medically catastrophic happen to you, you can be in control of the medical intervention you receive.
What Does a Health Care Surrogate Designation Cover?
Thinking about end-of-life issues can be uncomfortable. But it’s important to face these issues while you’re able. Not only is it for your comfort, but it also is for the well-being of your loved ones, so they’re not burdened with deciding on end-of-life medical treatment.
Your Health Care Surrogate Designations Can Specify:
- Life Prolonging Treatment Your living will should state what you would want at your life’s end, such as surgery, breathing apparatus (respirators), blood transfusions, dialysis, and pharmaceuticals.
- Feeding Tubes & Intravenous Hydration If you are unconscious or so sick or injured that you can’t eat or drink, you can preemptively choose whether you want your life to be prolonged through a feeding tube or intravenous hydration.
- Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Directives Your living will should specify whether, under certain conditions, you want to be resuscitated or not when the end of your life is imminent.
- Pain Management Specify in your living will whether you want palliative care, including drugs that will keep you comfortable and pain-free until your death.
Why You Need A Lawyer
Preemptive medical directives, which should include health care surrogate designations can be general or exceedingly specific. Medical definitions and language, benefits, and other important elements require clarity before they are signed and made official by a notary public so that your health care decisions are ensured.
Our Health Care Lawyers in Largo, FL Can Help
A sudden medical tragedy or even the slow progression of time is hard enough for you and your loved ones. So, making the process a little less painful can alleviate a lot of stress and uncertainty. All of this can be facilitated with an adequate medical power of attorney and health care designation.
A veteran of both the U. S. Marine Corps and Kansas Army National Guard, Javier Centonzio is an esteemed attorney who strongly believes in protecting his clients’ rights and giving them a say in the important decisions impacting them. Every American should be entitled to make these calls, and putting a legally binding health care POA in place is how to make your wishes known.
Let us handle the paperwork and make things crystal clear.