In the case of a medical emergency or if you become incapacitated, you should have the requisite legal documents prepared to direct
your family on how to take care of you. Some of the health care documents you should ensure are in place as part of your estate plan include a Medical Power of Attorney/Health Care Proxy (also called a Designation of Health Care Surrogate in Florida), a Living Will, a HIPAA Waiver, and a Declaration of a Pre-need Guardian.
Planning for these types of situations can sometimes be difficult. Our attorneyswill work with you to ensure that you have the necessary health care documents prepared and are designed to fulfill your and your loved one's best interests.
Designation of Health Care Surrogate
A "Designation of Health Care Surrogate," otherwise known as a Health Care Proxy, is a document in which you appoint a Health Care Surrogate to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you cannot do so. If you become incapacitated, this person will be permitted to make decisions as to your consent for medical treatment and the administration of medication.
A Living Will, otherwise known as an “Advanced Directive,” is a document that specifies and informs medical professionals about your wishes — whether you want life-sustaining procedures withheld or withdrawn in the event you are suffering from a terminal or irreversible condition. These documents are usually limited to very specific decisions including the provision or withholding of life-sustaining procedures, artificial nutrition, experimental medical treatment, and organ donation. A Living Will may also designate a surrogate to make such decisions for you when you are incapacitated.
Congress passed a law entitled the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that limits use, disclosure, or release of health information. The Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information, typically known as a HIPAA Waiver or Release, authorizes your health care providers to readily use, release, or disclose your protected medical information to the person or people you designate as authorized recipients. This document is extremely important as it aids the named agents under your Health Care Surrogacy or Living Will in making the best treatment decisions on your behalf.
Declaration of Pre-Need Guardian
Another standard document included in most estate plans is a Declaration (or Designation) of Pre-Need Guardian. The purpose of this document is to make known who you would like to serve as your Guardian if you ever become incapacitated. This document creates a statutory presumption in favor of appointing the designated pre-need Guardian, but there are some individuals who are automatically disqualified by law (i.e., convicted felons). However, despite the designation, the courts do have authority to appoint a different individual if a court determines that would be in the ward’s best interests.
Contact Morris Law Group
Nobody can predict the future, so your best option is to be prepared for whatever happens. Contact us today, and we will carefully guide you through the process of preparing your customized health care documents.