Secure Your Health Decisions With a Health Care Proxy 

According to data cited by the AARP, 60% of American adults do not have a will, let alone any other estate planning documents. A well-crafted estate plan should be fully comprehensive. The process is about a lot more than simply deciding who gets to inherit what.

Proper estate planning should take health needs into account. A health care proxy is a valuable estate planning tool for many people. Here, our Fort Lauderdale estate planning lawyer provides a guide to the most important things you need to know about health care proxies in Florida. 

What is a Health Care Proxy?

You may hear a health care proxy referred to as a health care surrogate or a medical power of attorney. Regardless, a health care proxy is a legal document that grants someone the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself. In other words, a health care proxy allows you to name a trusted loved one as your medical decision-making in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. It is an important estate planning document because it helps to ensure that your health care wishes are respected and carried out—even if you are in a situation in which you cannot directly communicate them. 

An Overview of Florida’s Health Care Proxy Statute

Similar to many other jurisdictions, Florida has its own specific health care proxy statute. Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 765.401), the following requirements must be met for a health care proxy document to be deemed valid: 

  • The health care proxy document must be signed by you in the presence of two witnesses; 
  • The person being given health care proxy decision-making power must be at least 18; 
  • The document must clearly state the power being given to the proxy decision-maker; and
  • Any limitations on health care proxy power must be clearly specified.

It is imperative that you ensure that a health care proxy document is completed properly. Even small errors can lead to big problems. The document should always be drafted and reviewed by an experienced Florida estate planning attorney.  

What are the Benefits of Selecting a Health Care Proxy?

When used properly, a health care proxy document provides peace of mind and real protection. It is an estate planning document that every person should consider including as part of their plan. Here are some of the specific advantages of using a health care proxy: 

  • Genuine Peace of Mind: Knowing that someone you trust will make decisions on your behalf in times of crisis can provide a sense of security and relief.
  • Control Over Medical Decisions: A health care proxy allows you to maintain control over your medical treatment by ensuring your surrogate follows your wishes and values.
  • Prevention of Family Conflicts: Designating a health care surrogate can help avoid disputes among family members about your care by establishing a clear decision-maker.
  • Clear, Timely Decision-Making: A health care surrogate can make important medical decisions quickly, which may be crucial in emergencies or situations where treatment is time-sensitive.

A Health Care Proxy is Most Effective When Used With a Living Will

A health care proxy is one medical-related estate planning document. By itself, it may not be sufficient to provide the maximum level of protection. Indeed, a health care proxy is often most effective when used in conjunction with a living will. A living will is a legal document that outlines your preferences for medical treatment, such as the use of life-sustaining measures, pain management, and organ donation. Combining these documents offers several benefits, including: 

  • Comprehensive Guidance: A living will provides detailed instructions for your surrogate, ensuring they have a clear understanding of your wishes and can make decisions in line with your values.
  • Reduced Uncertainty: Having both a health care proxy and a living will reduce the likelihood of confusion or ambiguity about your medical preferences, making it easier for your surrogate to act on your behalf.
  • Full Legal protection: A living will offers additional legal protection for your surrogate, who can demonstrate they are acting in accordance with your documented wishes. It also provides additional certainty that your medical wishes will be respected. 

It is important to emphasize that a health care proxy is a person who you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated and are not able to do so. A health care proxy does not have the power to override a living will. Medical professionals in Florida are legally obligated to comply with the instructions included in a valid living will. 

Why Choose Florida Attorney Odelia Goldberg for Help With a Health Care Proxy 

Estate planning matters. A well-structured estate plan that is personalized to meet your specific situation should provide you with a sense of peace, stability, and clarity. Estate planning is also complicated. It can be a confusing, even overwhelming process. Our founding attorney Odelia Goldberg goes above and beyond to provide comprehensive and attentive estate planning services to clients, including in matters related to health care planning. When you contact our Fort Lauderdale office, you will have a chance to consult with a Florida estate planning lawyer who can: 

  • Listen to your story and answer your estate planning questions; 
  • Help you secure your health decisions with a health proxy and/or a living will; and
  • Ensure that all of your other estate planning and elder law needs are taken care of. 

Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Estate Planning Attorney Today

At The Law Offices of Odelia Goldberg, our Florida estate planning attorney is a diligent, solutions-focused advocate for clients. If you have any questions about using a health care proxy as part of your estate plan, we can help. Contact us today to arrange your completely confidential, no-commitment initial case review. From our Fort Lauderdale law office, we provide estate planning services throughout the region, including in Broward County and Palm Beach County. 

Portrait of Odelia Goldberg, Esq.

With over 50 years of combined experience, our probate, estate planning, real estate, elder law and asset protection attorneys provide peace of mind for our clients throughout South Florida.

Florida Bar Logo Broward County Bar Logo NYSBA Logo United States Patent and Trademark Office Logo Broward Attorney Real Estate Council Logo

Schedule a Consultation

1270 SW 26th Ave
Fort Lauderdale, Florida   33312

Phone: 954-832-0885


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter

The Law Offices of Odelia Goldberg Logo White

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.
This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
© 2024 The Law Offices of Odelia Goldberg. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Web Development by IWD Marketing