We all want to believe that we’ll be healthy forever. Unfortunately, a serious illness, like dementia/Alzheimer’s, or injury can happen at any time, and it’s important to be prepared. At Rooth & Rooth Elder Law Attorneys, we know how important it is to have a health care surrogate in place before the time comes when one is needed.

What Is a Health Care Surrogate?

A health care surrogate is a third party who has been named in advance to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. The term can also be used interchangeably with “health care advanced directives,” “advanced health care directives,” or “health care power of attorney.” When appointing a health care surrogate, it’s very important to choose someone who is attentive, trustworthy, and familiar with your medical wishes in various health-related scenarios and capable of making difficult medical decisions.

Why Do I Need a Health Care Surrogate?

Emotions run high during times of medical emergency. Families often have strong feelings about what should happen to their loved ones. If you were to suddenly fall ill, a legal document naming your health care surrogate could help eliminate any confusion about who is responsible for making decisions about your medical care. This will spare your family members from arguing (and in some cases even going to court) over who should be tasked with making difficult decisions regarding your well-being. The written document appointing a health care surrogate is especially important when you have internal family conflict or if you are bypassing family members to appoint a non-family member or companion to serve as your health care surrogate.

You may want someone to have access to your medical information immediately, even if you are fully able to make your own decisions. In this way, your surrogate can be fully informed of your medical condition if, at some point in time, the doctors determine that you are unable to make your own decisions for medical care. A properly drafted health care surrogate can add that provision. The final decision on care always remains with you unless the doctor states that you cannot make a decision.

How Can an Attorney Help?

The legal professionals at Rooth & Rooth Elder Law Attorneys have decades of experience helping protect and serve our community’s elderly population through estate planning, long-term care and planning, and probate and trust administration. We can help you with your advanced health care directive, ensuring that your wishes will be honored in any eventuality. Make an appointment to visit us at our handicapped-accessible offices by calling (727) 397-4768. If you are unable to travel, we will be more than happy to come to your home, nursing home, or assisted living facility.