According to Florida law, you may appoint someone to make health care decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. The law states that if you have not completed an advanced directive to designate such a person, or if you are developmentally disabled, then one of the following may be judicially appointed to be your health care proxy:

  •        Your adult child
  •        Your spouse
  •        Your parent
  •        Your adult sibling or another adult relative who has demonstrated regular contact with and care for you
  •        A close friend
  •        A clinical social worker

The proxy is permitted to make health care decisions for you, which should be done on the assumption that those decisions are ones you would have made if you had the ability to do so.

In the event that a family member, physician or health care facility believes that your proxy has made the wrong decision, or that the proxy was wrongly appointed, the law permits them to challenge the decision. This may also occur if the advanced care directives you left were ambiguous.

Experts advise that you put end-of-life plans in place that clearly state not only your wishes regarding your care, but also whom you trust to make decisions for you if you are unable to. This not only ensures you get what you want, but it also takes the stress off your loved ones during an already upsetting time.

Florida offers several ways to outline advance health care directives, including creating a living will, naming a health care surrogate and determining any anatomical designations. While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

Luis E. Barreto