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Changes to the Health Care Surrogate Laws

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Some of the 2015 legislative changes to the Florida Probate and Trust Code involve the revision of Chapter 765 of the Florida Statutes, Health Care Advanced Directives, with important sections that became effective October 1, 2015. The two main amendments generated by the new law are the ability to create a Designation of Health Care Surrogate form to be made immediately effective, as well as a specific Designation of Health Care Surrogate form for a minor.

The Designation of Health Care Surrogate form has been revised so that an individual will be able to designate a health care surrogate who will have immediate access to their health care information, assist with or make health care decisions for them, or both, regardless of their level of capacity. Under the previous law, if the individual’s capacity to make health care decisions was in question, the attending physician is required to evaluate the principal’s capacity before allowing the named surrogate access to the individual’s health care records and medical decision-making authority.

The other major change within Chapter 765 is the ability to designate a health care surrogate for a minor. The new legislation provides parents, legal custodians, or legal guardians of the person of a minor with the authority to designate a person in advance of their absence to consent to essential as well as non-emergency medical treatment of the minor. The designation must be in writing and signed by two witnesses.

In essence, the new legislation provides for flexibility of the health care surrogate laws. If you need assistance with updating your existing Estate Planning documents as a result of these changes, or wish to create new Health Care Surrogate forms for you and your family, Kira Doyle Law is here to help. Call us today at 727-537-6818 to get started!