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ELDER LAW UPDATE: COVID-19 FAQs – What is the difference between a Health Care Proxy and a Health Care Surrogate?

Posted on Apr 23, 2020 - News by

A Health Care Proxy is the person that will make medical decisions in the event you cannot and do not have a Health Care Surrogate Designation Form.

The Florida Health Care Proxy statute provides the following order of priority of those that would be able to make healthcare decisions:

  • A judicially-appointed guardian
  • A spouse
  • An adult child (or a majority of adult children available to the doctor)
  • A parent
  • An adult sibling (or a majority of adult siblings available to the doctor)
  • An adult relative of the patient who has exhibited special care/concern for patient
  • A close friend
  • A clinical social worker selected by the provider’s bio-ethics committee

However, if you wish to name a certain individual you should consider executing a Health Care Surrogate, along with a Living Will. This will eliminate confusion and streamline decision making. The rules governing Health Care Surrogate Designation Form do not require a notary to be present and thereby simplifying the execution of this Form. You must sign in the physical presence of two witnesses. The only other restrictions are: (1) the actual health care surrogate (i.e. the decision-maker) him or herself may not be a witness, and (2) at least one of the witnesses must not be the signor’s spouse or blood relative.

If you or a loved one have any questions regarding Health Care Surrogates Designation Forms please contact the Probate, Guardianship and Estate Planning Group. We are working to ensure our community has the necessary tools to fight COVID-19!

For more information, please contact us at or at 305.670.5000. 

Markowitz Ringel Trusty + Hartog concentrates on the representation of businesses, institutions, fiduciaries, and individuals across several practice groups, which include Restructuring + Insolvency, Litigation + Dispute Resolution, Real Estate + Business, Probate + Guardianship, and Trusts + Estates. Dedication to clients and service to the community are the principles upon which Markowitz Ringel Trusty + Hartog was founded in 1980, and upon which it still operates today.