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Boca Raton Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Estate Planning / Will My Advance Healthcare Directives Work in Another State?

Will My Advance Healthcare Directives Work in Another State?


Making sure your end-of-life wishes are followed, no matter where you reside, is extremely important. If you move to a different state or split your time between one or more states, you should make sure your advance directives are valid in all the states you live in. Did you know that you are considered a resident of Florida, for most purposes, if you spend 183 days a year in the Sunshine State?

Advance healthcare directives are written statements, which give instruction regarding the kind of medical care you would like to receive should you not be able to express your wishes yourself. The documents also designate an individual or individuals to make medical decisions on your behalf. Some people create advance directives when they are diagnosed with an illness. Others put their wishes in writing when they are healthy as part of their estate planning. Each state has its own laws establishing requirements for advance directives. For example, some states require two witnesses, other states require one witness, and some states do not require a witness at all. Florida requires two witnesses, wherein at least one of the witnesses is not a spouse or blood relative to the principal.

Most states have provisions accepting an advance healthcare directive created in another state. States can also contrast what the terminology is within an advance directive and its meaning. For instance, some states may require specific authorization for certain life-sustaining procedures, such as feeding tubes, while other states may allow blanket approval for all procedures.

An advance healthcare directive completed in another state and in compliance with the other state’s law are generally honored in Florida. However, with that said, it is recommended that Florida residents establish Florida advance healthcare directives.  The reason being is that an advance healthcare directive from another state may contain terms that have a different meaning in Florida.  For example, another state may label a “Health Care Surrogate” as a “health care Proxy” or “health care power of attorney.”  Under Florida law, both a proxy and power of attorney are distinctly different to a Health Care Surrogate. This can cause confusion. The purpose of advance healthcare directives is to clearly outline a person’s wishes to avoid such ambiguity. This is why creating advance healthcare directives that comply with the laws of each state may be the most straightforward solution.  Having documents prepared and executed in Florida can also assist with establishing a Florida domicile.

If you have recently relocated to Florida, or are perhaps a prior snowbird that is now living here permanently, call SAMUELS WOOD PLLC at (561) 864-3371 to review your documents and determine if they are in compliance with Florida.

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