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How to Get a Medical Power of Attorney in Florida


A medical power of attorney is a legal document empowering someone else to medical decisions on your behalf in case you are unable to. A medical power of attorney can save your family from having to make hard decisions about your medical care, as well as making sure your wishes are followed. You can either create a valid Florida medical power of attorney with a state-supplied form or, if you’re unsure about doing it yourself, with the help of an attorney. The Florida process for creating a medical power of attorney is similar to those in other states, but there are a few differences. For assistance with managing your healthcare decisions and asset management, consider reaching out to a financial advisor.

Medical Power of Attorney Background

A power of attorney is a legal document often used in estate planning. It names someone else as your agent, giving them authority under certain circumstances to make decisions for you. There are different types, such as a financial power of attorney, which enables your agent to handle your financial affairs.

A medical power of attorney is a special variety that enables someone to decide health-related matters in the event that you are unable to. Some of the things that a medical power of attorney can do include giving someone the right to:

  • Refuse medical care such as resuscitation, life support or tube feeding on your behalf.
  • Have access to your medical records to make informed decisions.
  • Choose whether your organs and tissues can be donated.

A medical power of attorney can be customized to exclude certain powers, or add others. However, Florida law places limits on things a medical power of attorney can do. These include voluntary admission to a mental health facility, electroshock, psychosurgery and treatments deemed experimental. There are also restrictions related to childbirth, including choices on abortion, sterilization and withholding treatment for a pregnant patient.

Getting a Florida Medical Power of Attorney

Understanding how to use a medical power of attorney in Florida is important for estate planning.

Someone in Florida who wants a medical power of attorney can hire an attorney or take the do-it-yourself route.

An attorney will charge their hourly rate for helping to determine what the medical power of attorney is intended to accomplish and drafting it accordingly. This can be costly, but may be most appropriate for someone who is unsure about the do-it-yourself approach. It can also improve the chances that the medical power of attorney will fulfill its intended requirements.

Those going it without professional assistance can obtain a copy of a Designation of Health Care Surrogate form meeting all of the state’s legal requirements from the website of the Florida Senate. Whether using an attorney or a free form, the steps below outline the general process:

  1. Select an agent. Florida law refers to the agent as a surrogate, and requires that they be a competent adult over the age of 18. Make sure your agent is someone trustworthy, who agrees to take on the responsibility. Family members are often chosen, but the agent should not be a medical professional who will be providing care.
  2. Discuss the power of attorney with your agent. This can help you ensure that they understand your wishes, and that they understand how they are to make the decisions that the power of attorney authorizes.
  3. Select an alternate agent and make sure they understand what is required. This may be important if the original agent is unable to carry out the duties granted by the power of attorney.
  4. Fill out the form used for the medical power of attorney. Provide names and contact information for the granter and primary and alternate agents, as well as any special instructions or limitations.
  5. Sign and date the power of attorney in front of two witnesses. Witnesses should not include the agent, someone who will inherit from you, or a medical professional providing healthcare services to the granter. A medical power of attorney in Florida does not have to be notarized, but signatures may be made in front of a notary, if desired.
  6. Store the signed document safely. Copies should be provided to the agent, alternate agent and the granter’s doctor or other healthcare provider. The power of attorney does not have to be filed or recorded at the courthouse.
  7. Update the power of attorney if the circumstances change. These can include one of the agents becoming unable or unwilling to serve.

Bottom Line

A man filling out forms for power of attorney in Florida.

A Florida medical power of attorney is used to ensure that the granter’s wishes with regard to health care are carried if they are unable to make their own medical decisions. Creating one involves determining what the power of attorney will accomplish, selecting an agent and an alternate, discussing the purpose of the power of attorney with them, and completing and signing the form in front of witnesses. The state provides a form that can be filled out to create a valid legal document. An attorney can also help with the process if someone is unsure how to go about it or has special concerns.

Estate Planning Tips

  • A financial advisor can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that covers your healthcare and financial needs, as well as the distribution of assets to beneficiaries after your death. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Use SmartAsset’s Florida paycheck calculator to see what your take-home pay will be after deducting for federal income and FICA taxes.

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