An advance directive is a way to make your choices about your medical care known if you’re unable to make them yourself. These important documents can help guide decisions about your health care, designate someone else to make decisions for you, or specify whether you want to leave anatomical gifts after your death.
A Living Will is a document concerning your healthcare. It typically goes into effect if you are injured in a way that makes it impossible for you to make your own medical decisions.
These documents are often used to specify medical decisions like what should be done if the signer is in the late stages of a terminal condition or if they are in a persistent vegetative state. However, Living Wills are not limited to only these situations. They can be used to communicate any information that you would want your healthcare providers to know.
Health Care Surrogate Designation
Unlike a Living Will, which identifies which medical treatment you want (or don’t want), a Health Care Surrogate Designation identifies another person who can make medical decisions for you. This is often a spouse, a child, or a parent, but it can be anyone you trust to make such important decisions for you.
There is a certain order of preference for who can make medical decisions for you if you’re incapacitated (typically favoring family members). If you’d like someone who is lower or who isn’t likely to be in the order of preference, or if you simply want to just provide your loved ones clarity, this advance directive is one you should strongly consider.
If you have a close friend or partner who you want to make these decisions for you, a Health Care Surrogate Designation can make your decision clear.
An Anatomical Donation specifies whether you would like to donate all or part of your body after your death. This document can be as detailed as you’d like, so you can donate certain anatomical parts but not others.
You can choose more than one of these advance directives if you’d like.
Florida law does not require that these directives be drawn up by an attorney, although some (like a Health Care Surrogate Designation) must be formally witnessed. However, these are important documents that can influence the direction of your health care in the future and should be drafted properly. A lawyer can help shape them in a way that ensures your wishes are communicated and respected.
Do you have questions about advance directives? Contact Messina Law Group today to request a consultation.