Also known as a medical power of attorney, the Florida Designation of Health Care Surrogate allow you to appoint someone to handle your medical decisions in case you become incapacitated and no longer able to make those decisions on your own.
It’s wise to have your medical power of attorney (POA) in place, no matter your age, so congratulations for being proactive! Now, you just have a few more things you need to handle.
4 things you must do after your health care proxy is in place
Do not go home and put your medical POA papers in a drawer and forget about them. While that’s exactly what a lot of people do, you really need to take the following steps:
- Get several copies made of your POA papers and any advance directives you may have made, including your living will.
- Give a copy of all of them to the person who will act as your POA, if needed. Go over the advance directives one more time and make sure that you’re both on the same page about your wishes.
- Give a copy of your POA and living will to your primary care physician and take another set to the hospital (or hospitals) that you’re most likely to use in an emergency. You don’t need an appointment — both doctors’ offices and hospitals will happily take them from you whenever you drop them off. That way, they’re on file and can eliminate confusion and answer questions in any crisis.
- Tell the rest of the family what you’ve planned. Be prepared for some upset if your wishes don’t align with their wishes for you — but hold your ground. You know best what you do and don’t want. If your decision was well-considered, stick with it.
Finally, don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney if you decide to make changes to your POA or other estate plans in the future. Life is full of changes, and the plans you make today may not reflect your desires later.