Determining the right health care decision maker for you is an important aspect of estate planning. Your health care decision maker will have the important role of making medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so due to incapacity or illness. Your health care decision maker should be able to act as you and make the decisions you would, not substitute their judgment for yours.

This is an important role in any estate plan. We know you may have questions on how to find the right person for you and need guidance on what to consider when it comes to ensuring you have the right health care decision maker in place. Let us share a few key considerations with you right here in our blog.

1. Help your decision maker understand the role. A health care decision maker is responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf, according to your wishes and best interests. They should be capable of understanding and communicating your healthcare preferences, treatment options, and potential outcomes. It is important to discuss your values, beliefs, and medical preferences with the person you choose as your health care decision maker. If they are uncomfortable making any of these decisions for you, they will not be the right person to serve in this role.

2. Choose someone whom you trust. Your health care decision maker should be someone you trust implicitly. They should have a clear understanding of your values, beliefs, and priorities when it comes to medical care. Open and ongoing communication is vital, as they may need to make difficult decisions in challenging circumstances. Ensure that your chosen individual is comfortable advocating for your wishes and can communicate effectively with healthcare providers.

3. Ensure your health care planning documents meet your state legal requirements. Different jurisdictions have specific legal requirements regarding health care decision makers. When you work with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, he is going to be familiar with the laws of the state of Florida to ensure compliance. If you plan to move or want to use these documents in another state it is critical that you meet with your attorney who can provide you with the guidance you need to ensure your wishes can be honored in a crisis. 

4. Availability and proximity do matter. You want to carefully consider the availability and proximity of your chosen health care decision maker. Ideally, they should be easily accessible and able to respond promptly in the event of a medical emergency or the need for important healthcare decisions. If your designated decision maker is unable to fulfill this role due to distance, health concerns, or other factors, you may need to consider an alternative or appoint a secondary or tertiary decision maker.

5. Plan early for a backup decision maker. It is prudent to designate a backup health care decision maker in case your primary choice is unable or unwilling to fulfill the role when the need arises. This ensures that there is always someone available to make important medical decisions on your behalf. With the guidance of your Florida estate planning attorney, discuss this arrangement with both the primary and backup decision makers to ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities.

Remember, the choice of a health care decision maker is highly personal. It is crucial to consider the specific needs of your situation and select someone you trust to make decisions aligned with your values and wishes. Regularly reviewing and updating your Florida estate plan, including the designation of your health care decision maker, can help ensure that your wishes are respected in times of medical incapacity.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Planning for the future is critical to ensure that your goals for the end of life are achieved. We know this article may raise more questions that it answers.  We do telephone, computer, and face-to-face appointments. Our face-to-face appointments are held outside in the open air (frequently selected by clients for document signing) and inside our office conference room. We follow all CDC guidelines. Our office procedures adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and are designed and enhanced by medical review and air quality engineering.