In Part 1 of this topic, we discussed the definitions of and differences between health care decision makers, the person or persons you would assign to carry out your medical treatment if you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your instructions yourself.
In Part 2, we look at the finer points of the Health Care Surrogate.
Definition Review: A Designation of Health Care Surrogate is an advance directive by you, effective during your lifetime unless revok
ed, by which you express your instructions or desires concerning any aspect of your health care or health information.
What's New? Effective October 1, of last year (2015) the person selected by you to serve as your Health Care Surrogate may be authorized to act immediately by assisting in making health care decisions for you, and by accessing your health care information.
As long as you are capable of making your own health care decisions, those would take precedence over the decisions made by the surrogate if there is a conflict.
Also, you may limit your surrogate to act only if you are incapacitated or incompetent to make your own health care decisions such as informed consent, as determined by your physician.
Who should your Health Care Surrogate be? It must be somebody you trust to communicate your health care treatment wishes, even if the person does not agree with your choices. The person you choose could be a close relative or friend.
Signature and witness requirements: This planning document must be signed by you, or on your behalf, in the presence of two subscribing witnesses. If you have the mental capacity but not the physical ability to sign, you may direct another person to sign the Designation of Health Care Surrogate for you. Your designated surrogate may not act as a witness, and at least one witness may not be either your spouse or blood relative.
Alternate Health Care Surrogates: You may wish to designate one or more alternate surrogates who would be authorized to act if your named surrogate is not able, willing, or available.
What is the role of my Elder Law Attorney? A qualified Elder Law Attorney can help you make sure your Health Care Surrogate is consistent with your wishes and complies with the current law. It is important to review this document with your Elder Law Attorney every three to five years or when there is any material change in circumstance.
Get Practical Answers
Need to find an Elder Law attorney? Want some tips on hiring the best one for you? Are you searching for clarification about veterans benefits, probate, guardianship or advance directives? Check out our
You are receiving this because you previously signed up for our Elder$mart$ newsletter or have been involved in the campaign. We have completed that campaign but would like to continue offering you useful consumer tips that benefit our seniors. If you wish to stop receiving this, please see the unsubscribe information below.