HELP: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the HELP Ordinance?

If you are married, your spouse would probably take over as decision maker if you were incapacitated. But who would fill that role if you are not married? The Orange County HELP ordinance is designed to help you identify a surrogate to make decisions for you about medical care, end-of-life management and burial decisions. You also can grant other rights to this person, such as hospital visitations.

How does it work?

There are two affidavits you can download from the Orange County Comptroller’s Office website. Choose the one that is right for you. The filing fee for either form is $18.50.

Option#1 is the HELP affidavit. It is designed mainly for relatives or acquaintances. This affidavit allows you to specify which powers you want to grant your surrogate, known as your “support person.’’ For example, you may want to give him the power to make medical decisions for you, but not the power to make education decisions for your children.

Option #2 is the domestic partnership affidavit. This is for people who are in a committed relationship, share a residence and are financially co-dependent. It automatically grants an array of rights, including hospital visitation, medical decisions, burial decisions, and education decisions for a child.

Instructions on how to fill out the forms and register them are on the Orange County Comptroller’s website.

Will other people be
able to see my affidavit on the Comptroller’s website?

Yes. If they search the Comptroller’s data base, all forms filed with the Comptroller’s Office are public records. But you do not have to file the form with the Comptroller. You can simply keep it with your personal records.

What is the benefit of filing the affidavit with the Comptroller?

One reason is safe keeping. This also allows hospitals or other facilities or agencies to look it up in an emergency situation.

Do I have to put my address or phone number on the affidavit?

No. But if you do not, it may hinder the ability of emergency workers or medical facilities to notify you. We recommend that if emergency notification is important to you, register your emergency contact information with the Florida Department of Highway Safety of Motor Vehicles. That data is kept confidential.

Can domestic partners use the HELP affidavit instead of the domestic partner form?

Yes. If they want to specify which powers and rights they wish to grant each other, the HELP affidavit is a viable option.

What is the difference between the City of Orlando’s domestic partner registry and
the Orange County domestic partner registry?

As far as rights granted, there is little if any difference. The city’s registry is now recognized countywide, so if you sign up with the city’s domestic partnership registry, your rights are guaranteed anywhere in the Orange County. The City of Orlando requires both partners to go to the City Clerk’s office to file the form. There is a $30.00 fee.

The Orange County registry allows you to download the appropriate form from the Comptroller’s Office website and mail in the witnessed and notarized form for a recording fee of $18.50. Registrants will receive wallet cards identifying them as members of the Orange County domestic partnership registry.

What if I want to rescind the affidavit?

You can file a form nullifying the affidavit. That also can be found on the Comptroller’s website.

Contact Us

Orange County Comptroller Official Records
Phone: (407) 836-5115