The average estate plan incorporates a wide range of inter-related tools which can sometimes be confusing to the beginner. For example, you likely know that a Will is a common estate planning document used to distribute estate assets; however, do you know what a Living Will is? Although they sound very similar, they are used for very different purposes within your estate plan. Because it is important to learn as much as possible before you start on your own estate plan, the Vero Beach estate planning attorneys at Kulas & Crawford explain what a Living Will is and why you might want to include one in your estate plan.
Making Your Own Decisions
You have probably never really thought about it, but over the course of just a single day, you likely make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions. Many decisions are seemingly inconsequential and not even worth remembering; however, you undoubtedly also make decisions that impact your life on a daily basis. Either way, you probably take the ability to make those decisions for yourself for granted – most of us do. What would happen, however, if you were unable to make decisions for yourself one day because you became ill or suffered an injury that left you incapacitated? The thought likely doesn’t sit well with you. The good news is that you have the option to make some important health care related decisions ahead of time and appoint someone you trust to make other health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself one day. The way to do both is by executing the appropriate advance directive.
An advanced directive is a legal document that allows you to make healthcare-related decisions now in the event you cannot make them for yourself at a later date. Each state decides what type of advanced directives will be recognized and what language must be included and/or procedures followed during execution for an advanced directive to be honored when the time comes. The State of Florida recognizes two types of advance directives — a Living Will and a Health Care Surrogate.
What Is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a written statement that allows you to decide now what kind of life-extending care you do and don’t want if you are in a terminal or end-stage condition, or in a persistent vegetative state. A Living Will must comply with Florida Statutes Section 765.03 and must be properly executed and witnessed. It is called a Living Will because it takes effect while you are still living.
What Is a Health Care Surrogate?
A Health Care Surrogate is an advance directive that allows you to designate another person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and are unable to express your own desires for medical treatment. Your incapacity could be permanent or temporary in nature.
Contact a Vero Beach Estate Planning Attorney
To learn more, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about creating an advance directive, please contact an experienced Vero Beach estate planning attorney at Kulas & Crawford by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule a consultation.