Florida Estate Planning: What's The Role Of A Healthcare Proxy?

Florida Estate Planning: What’s The Role Of A Healthcare Proxy?

July 1, 2024

Estate planning in Florida involves several key documents that ensure your wishes are carried out effectively, especially during times of incapacity or medical emergencies. Among these, a healthcare proxy holds significant importance. This document appoints a trusted individual to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to communicate or make decisions for yourself. Understanding the role and significance of a healthcare proxy is crucial for comprehensive estate planning in Florida.

Understanding Healthcare Proxy in Florida

In Florida, a healthcare proxy is also known as a durable power of attorney for healthcare or healthcare surrogate. This legal document allows you (the principal) to designate someone you trust (the agent or surrogate) to make healthcare decisions if you become unable to do so due to illness or incapacity. These decisions can range from routine medical care to major treatment choices, depending on the circumstances outlined in the document.

Significance of a Healthcare Proxy

The significance of a healthcare proxy in Florida estate planning cannot be overstated. Here’s why this document is essential:

  1. Ensuring Your Wishes are Followed: By appointing a healthcare proxy, you ensure that someone who knows your values and preferences will make medical decisions on your behalf. This includes decisions about life-sustaining treatments, surgeries, and other healthcare interventions.
  2. Avoiding Family Disputes: In the absence of a healthcare proxy, family members may disagree on what medical decisions to make for you, leading to potential conflicts and stress. Designating a healthcare proxy clarifies your wishes and reduces the likelihood of disputes among loved ones.
  3. Legal Protection: Having a healthcare proxy in place provides legal protection for both you and your agent. It ensures that healthcare providers recognize the authority of your chosen representative to make decisions on your behalf.
  4. Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have a designated person to advocate for your medical interests can provide peace of mind. This is particularly important during challenging times when you may not be able to communicate your wishes.

Requirements for a Valid Healthcare Proxy in Florida

To create a valid healthcare proxy in Florida, certain requirements must be met:

  • Capacity: You must be of sound mind and understanding to execute the document.
  • Agent Selection: Choose a trusted individual who is willing to act as your healthcare surrogate.
  • Documentation: The document must be in writing and signed in the presence of two witnesses who are not related to you or named as beneficiaries in your will.

It’s important to note that while a healthcare proxy is crucial, it does not authorize your agent to manage your finances or make non-healthcare related decisions. For these matters, a separate durable power of attorney is required.

How to Create a Healthcare Proxy in Florida

Creating a healthcare proxy in Florida involves several steps:

  1. Consultation: Discuss your wishes with your chosen healthcare proxy and ensure they understand your values regarding medical care.
  2. Legal Assistance: While it is possible to create a healthcare proxy without an attorney, consulting with a qualified estate planning attorney ensures that all legal requirements are met and the document accurately reflects your intentions.
  3. Execution: Sign the healthcare proxy document in the presence of witnesses as required by Florida law. Ensure copies are provided to your healthcare proxy, primary care physician, and any relevant healthcare providers.
  4. Regular Review: Periodically review and update your healthcare proxy as needed, especially after significant life events such as marriage, divorce, or the death of your healthcare proxy.


A healthcare proxy plays a critical role in Florida estate planning by ensuring that your medical wishes are respected when you are unable to communicate. By appointing a trusted individual as your healthcare surrogate, you gain peace of mind knowing that your healthcare decisions will be made according to your preferences. To create a healthcare proxy that meets legal requirements and reflects your wishes accurately, consulting with an estate planning attorney is advisable. Take proactive steps today to protect your healthcare choices and secure your future wellbeing.

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