Designate a Health Care Surrogate Today to Protect Yourself for the Rest of Your Tomorrows

Regardless of your age or general health, it is imperative that you designate a health care surrogate today. In doing so, you are offering yourself and your loved ones peace of mind and protection for the rest of your tomorrows.

A health care surrogate designation is the process that legally documents the individual or persons that you wish to be responsible for making health-related decisions for you, in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.

This legal document helps to establish authority and provide sound direction for your care so that confusion, conflicts, and other negative situations do not arise.

Assisted Living Consultant New JerseyHow are a Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Surrogate Different?

If you are reading this, it is quite likely that you have already established a Durable Power of Attorney.

Most mistakenly believe that this is all that is necessary.

While similar to the Durable POA, the Health Care Surrogate deals with health care decisions and the Durable Power of Attorney mostly deals with property and finances.

Additionally, the Durable POA is effective at the time that it is legally executed.

The Health Care Surrogate only becomes effective when it is determined that you lack the mental and/or physical capacity to make health care decisions on your own.

In most instances, two physicians must confirm that you lack the ability to make your own health decisions prior to the Health Care Surrogate becoming effective.

Despite common belief, a physician and your relatives do not automatically possess the right to legally make decisions regarding your health care.

This is where this legal designation comes into play.

What if There is No Health Care Surrogate?

If you do not have a Health Care Surrogate in place and become unable to make your own decisions due to incapacitation, the issue will likely be taken to court where a judge will select an individual to act as a court-appointed legal guardian. This may prove to be a time-consuming process that could delay the health care that you require. Additionally, it is very costly.

Your privacy may become lost and you may end up with someone as a guardian over you that you do not want to be your guardian. It may be a professional guardian, a relative, or another person in your life – such as a caregiver.

Conflicts may arise over your care among your loved ones. All of these situations may be completely avoided by simply designating a Health Care Surrogate – of your choice – today.

Is There Anyone Who Cannot Serve as a Health Care Surrogate?

Yes, there are laws in place that prevent certain people from being your Health Care Surrogate. These include the following:

  1. A health care provider that is treating you cannot be designated as your Health Care Surrogate.
  2. An employee that works for your treating provider cannot act as your Health Care Surrogate unless the individual is directly related to you.
  3. If you are in a health care facility, the owner, operator, and/or the administrator of that facility cannot serve as your Health Care Surrogate.
  4. If a person works for the owner, operator, and/or administrator of the health care facility that you are part of, they cannot be your Health Care Surrogate unless you are related to them.

What Rules Does My Health Care Surrogate Have to Follow?

There are laws and guidelines that must be followed by a person acting as your Health Care Surrogate. These include the following:

  1. They must follow your wishes.
  2. They must make health care decisions for you, based on your morals and your religious beliefs.
  3. If they make a reasonable effort to determine your beliefs but are unsuccessful, they must make health care decisions that place your best interests as top priority.
  4. They must consider your values when making health care decisions.

How Are “Best Interests” Determined?

In order for the person that you designate as your Health Care Surrogate to make decisions that are considered to be in your “best interests”, the law requires them to consider the following:

  1. The medical condition in which you suffer and the prognosis that you have received
  2. Your dignity
  3. The ability to preserve the life that you have
  4. The possibilities associated with restoring, improving, or even preserving your overall level of functionality
  5. Measures that would relieve you from any suffering that you are experiencing
  6. The benefits versus the risks associated with certain treatment options

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This blog (at”) is a service made available by Beacon Senior Advisors. This blog does not provide legal advice and we are not a law firm. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice.

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