Understanding Health Care Surrogates and Living Wills

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Monday March 08, 2021.

Both health care surrogates and a living will serve very similar functions, however, they operate in slightly different ways too. Below is an overview that will provide you with some information on what they are and how they are different, to help you decide which one is best for you.

Health Care Surrogates

A health care surrogate is an individual you appoint to make medical decisions based on your own wishes. You may have also heard it being referred to as a ‘power of attorney’ for health care. After you have appointed someone to be your health care surrogate, they will not get any power to make decisions until you are unable to make them yourself.

Due to the level of responsibility that you will be granting someone, you must be sure of who you decide to appoint. You need to ensure that they have a deep understanding of all your health care wishes and that they will make all decisions based on your own values. It is such a big decision, therefore you need to take plenty of time to consider your options.

Living Will

Much like a health care surrogate, a living will can help by ensuring that your medical decisions are based on your own wishes when you cannot make them yourself. Instead of appointing an individual to make the decisions for you, a living will is a document that will outline all your wishes. Your doctors will be able to follow your living will to ensure that they are treating you in the way that you would have asked. For example, it may contain any types of treatments that you do or do not want and how you feel about resuscitation.

However, while living wills are hugely helpful to doctors, they can be too narrow. It is impossible to foresee all types of situations and therefore it is important to note that your living will may not be helpful in all medical situations.

We Can Help

Overall, both health care surrogates and a living will are there to ensure that all medical decisions are made based on your wishes. While a health care surrogate is an individual making the decisions on your behalf, a living will is a document that outlines your wishes for your doctor to follow.

The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers provides top-notch legal representation to clients in Daytona and southern Florida. Our areas of legal practice include family lawpersonal injuryeminent domain, and estate planning and probate. Our firm has over 60 years of addressing our clients’ legal issues. Please feel free to contact us by filling out our online form or calling us at (386) 252-3000.

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