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What is the surrogate’s responsibility with an advance directive?

| Oct 1, 2020 | Estate Planning |

In Florida, many people are concerned that they will become ill or incapacitated and subjected to treatments they might not want. In other cases, they will need a person with their best interests in mind to oversee their affairs. With a living will and power of attorney as part of an advance directive, it is possible to detail what medical treatment will be given and address personal matters. To ensure that the person’s wishes are followed, there is a surrogate to serve as that person’s legal representative. When getting an advance directive with a living will and a power of attorney, it is imperative to understand what the surrogate’s responsibilities are under the law.

How a surrogate follows the duties under an advance directive

The person who has the advance directive is known as the principal. The surrogate will adhere to the instructions of the principal based on the authority given. He or she will be allowed to make health care determinations when the principal is incapacitated. The surrogate can have consultations with health care professionals regarding informed consent and make decisions that the principal would have wanted were he or she able to make them. If written consent is necessary, the surrogate can provide it.

The surrogate will be allowed to have access to the principal’s relevant health information. If a form needs to be completed even if it details the principal’s desire not to have life-saving treatment such as resuscitative tactics, the surrogate will complete the form. It is within the surrogate’s parameters to apply for public assistance such as Medicare or Medicaid. This will also require access to the principal’s finances. Appropriate persons can receive the principal’s health information from the surrogate. Even if a guardian is appointed, the surrogate will still make the health decisions unless the court determines otherwise.

Legal help may be needed for an advance directive

If a person has certain wishes that are to be carried out with an advance directive, a surrogate is needed. People need to be aware of the responsibility and select a person they believe will fulfill the duties responsibly and in an objective manner while adhering to the person’s desires. For this and any other aspect of estate planning, it is wise to have legal advice to determine the best course of action. These documents must be completed according to the law and legal help is beneficial. Consulting with experienced professionals in these matters is crucial.

 

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