LAW CHANGE: Florida Health Care Power of Attorney

There has been a revision to Florida’s Health Care Surrogate Act (the “law”) which may affect your Health Care Power of Attorney; the change in the law was effective October 1, 2015.

When you designate someone to act on your behalf in your health care power of attorney, you give that person the right to receive your health information and the ability to make medical decisions for you in the event of your incapacity.

The change in the law gives you the OPTION to give them the authority to act immediately rather than after your incapacity.

Now, if you CHOOSE TO, your health care power of attorney can provide that the person you appoint (the “surrogate”) will receive your health information immediately and make medical decisions on your behalf immediately and not need to wait until a determination of your incapacity, provided any health decisions that person makes on your behalf do not conflict with your own decisions while you are HAVE capacity.

It may be helpful to grant this kind of authority to the person you appoint NOW so no time is lost waiting for a doctor to enter a “lack of capacity” finding in your medical file; remember, if you DO HAVE CAPACITY, the surrogate’s medical decisions cannot conflict with your decisions. Again, the change in the statute provides you the OPTION to grant this new authority and whether you do so is a very personal decision.

The other change in the law permits those with minor children to name a surrogate for their minor children in their own health care power of attorney document. In the past, this office would prepare a separate document for that purpose.

If you believe either of these changes in the law would benefit you, contact us at (239) 225-7911 and we will update your health care power of attorney. For our clients participating in our maintenance program, this is a no charge “tinkering” change.

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