If you have been thinking about creating your 2016 Florida estate plan, one of the most important topics you will have to address is the issue of medical directives. Also known as advance or health care directives, medical directives are documents that allow you to make specific choices about what you want to happen in the event you lose capacity and require medical care. Today we are going to take a look at the common medical directives most people in Florida use as a part of their Florida estate plans to give you a better idea of what kinds of tools you will have to make.
Creating Your 2016 Florida Estate Plan: Health Care Representatives
Through a health care surrogate, capable adults in Florida can designate a person, or sometimes an organization, that will have the legal authority to make medical decisions on their behalf. A health care surrogate, sometimes called a durable power of attorney for health care, also allows your chosen representative to speak to your doctors about your treatment options, review your medical records, and take any steps necessary to protect your health or health care wishes.
Creating Your 2016 Florida Estate Plan: Health Care Wishes
Speaking of health care wishes, most people also create a second medical directive called a living will. A living will, unlike a last will and testament, is not a document that addresses inheritance choices, or which applies after you die. Through your living will you get to make decisions about the kinds of health care you wish to accept or receive in the event you lose capacity, or lose your ability to communicate your wishes. Your living will can be as complicated or a simple as you like, but it typically addresses a small number of core issues, such as whether you wish to receive life-sustaining care when you fall incapacitated as a result of a terminal or incurable medical condition.
Creating Your 2016 Florida Estate Plan: Communicating Your Decisions
Beyond the specific medical directives you and your attorney decide to create or include as a part of your comprehensive estate plan, it’s important to remember that many of these issues are sensitive and potentially stressful to your family. This is why it’s always a good idea to not only think about the kinds of choices you want made should you fall in capable, but also to communicate your thoughts and decisions to your closest family members. If it ever comes time to implement your medical directives, having spoken about your wishes with your family member prior to that point will ensure that everyone understands what you want, and will also help reduce the possibility that harmful disputes or litigation might arise subsequently.