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What is a health proxy?

Some Ft. Myers residents are familiar with the basic types of estate planning documents. They may know about the importance of a will and how a trust can also be an integral part of their estate plan. They may even know about the importance of a power of attorney (POA) and how that document can become critical if they become incapacitated. However, they may not know that another type of estate planning document, known as a health proxy, can also provide significant benefits. But what is a health proxy and what is its main purpose?

A health proxy is a legal document that allows another person to make health care decisions for someone else if that individual can no longer make those decisions for themselves. This is similar to a POA, but while a POA only allows someone to make financial decisions for the testator, a health proxy lets the appointee make health care decisions for the testator based on the testator's preferences.

A testator can name anyone to be their representative for their health proxy as long as that person is an adult. Many individuals name a close family member such as a spouse or adult child, while others choose a close personal friend. But it's very important for the testator to discuss their health care wishes with their proxy so that these wishes are included in the proxy document.

It's important to remember that a health proxy and a POA are not the same document. Florida residents who wants to find out more about a health proxy may want to speak to an estate planning attorney in order to learn about all of the benefits that a health proxy can provide.

Source: FindLaw, "Health care proxy", Accessed October 15, 2016

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