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Durable Power of Attorney

Ensure Your Health Will Be Cared For By Someone You Trust

Like everybody else, you probably hope to live a long life in the best possible health. You do what you can to keep yourself healthy, but nothing can guarantee that you will remain mentally alert and in control of your own medical decisions for the rest of your life. There is always the risk of dementia, some other disease or an accident incapacitating you and taking away your ability to communicate with doctors and make key choices about your care.

Fortunately, estate planning documents called the durable power of attorney (DPOA) and the designation of a health care surrogate can help you maintain control ahead of time. These are types of advance directives that let you designate someone to make decisions about your medical care in case you ever become incapacitated. They help ensure that your wishes are honored and give clarity to your doctors and loved ones about who is in charge of your care during stressful and emotional times.

At the Law Offices of Mitchell A. Sherman, Esq., I have more than 30 years of experience serving Central Florida and the Tampa Bay area as an estate planning lawyer. As your guide to creating or updating your estate plan, I will explain how a DPOA, or designation of health care surrogate, can fit into your plan. I will make sure your health care preferences are carried out when the time comes.

What Are DPOAs And Health Care Surrogates?

The DPOA and designation of health care surrogates are similar advance directives. They both allow you, as the “principal,” to select another person, known as the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact,” to make decisions about your health care if you ever become mentally incapacitated. For example, your agent can:

  • Consent or refuse a doctor’s suggested medical treatment, such as an operation or new medication
  • Decide whether you should undergo a medical test
  • Control the level of end-of-life care you receive, including whether to use a ventilator or feeding tube

Some jurisdictions in Florida recognize designations of health care surrogate documents instead of DPOAs, and the scope and authority of the power given to the agent can vary. Certain things, like placing the principal in voluntary inpatient mental health services, are restricted by state law. I will make sure your advance directive is valid, legally enforceable and gives your agent exactly the type and level of control you wish.

Choosing The Right Surrogate

Your choice of agent or surrogate is critical. Florida law generally lets you choose any person who is at least 18 years old, including out-of-state residents. Your choice should be someone you trust who can make tough decisions in difficult situations. They should be someone with whom you can discuss your values and preferences regarding treatment and end-of-life care, so they can be your advocate when you cannot speak for yourself. Many people choose a close relative, such as their spouse or one of their children, but you could have several other options. I can help you make the right choice for yourself.

The complexity involved in creating a durable power of attorney or designation of a health care surrogate means sophisticated legal support is necessary to avoid mistakes. My detailed understanding of the laws involved and skill at document preparation help my clients avoid these errors, ensuring that their advance directives comply with both state law and your wishes. I can help you integrate your DPOA into your estate plan as a whole, so it gives you and your family the best possible advantage during your life and after you are gone. Whenever life events such as divorce, marriage and the birth of children or grandchildren arise, I will be here to provide important updates to your plan.

Free Consultations On Advance Health Care Directives – Including Advance Directives

For a free consultation, please call me at the Law Offices of Mitchell A. Sherman, Esq., by dialing 727-616-0365. You can also reach me via my online email form. My office is in St. Petersburg, and I help clients across the Tampa Bay area and Central Florida.