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What Is An Advance Directive?

When a person nears the end of life or suffers a serious medical emergency, there is a real risk that they will be unable to make or communicate important decisions about their own care. Thankfully, this problem can be largely solved by the creation of an advance directive, commonly called a living will. This is a document wherein you specify your intent as it relates to your medical treatment in the event that you were incapacitated and unable to communicate with your care providers.

An advance directive gives you control over the care you do and do not wish to receive. Just as importantly, it takes the burden off of your loved ones. Rather than feeling like they must make decisions for you (some of which can literally mean life or death), they can refer to the document that states your intent as to what you want to have happen under those circumstances. They are merely carrying out your intent rather than deciding your fate.

At The King Firm, PA, our attorneys help clients across Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg resolve all their estate planning and incapacitation concerns. They have extensive experience in Florida health care directives law and understand what’s at stake for you. They will take every opportunity to educate you and provide you with effective, efficient service to help you move forward.

Why You Need Health Care Directives

Advance health care directives are essential parts of your estate plan and describe your wishes about your care. Without advance directives, if you become incapacitated, then your family will have to make decisions without your guidance. The stakes are high in a hospital environment. Your loved ones may feel like they don’t know what the appropriate course of action would be or what you would necessarily want. This could leave them with uncertainty about whether they made the right decision.

It could lead to division in the family if there are conflicting strong feelings about what should be done. This is especially true in cases of blended families, where different members share different personal histories with you.

Several critical objectives can be achieved by having an advance directive in place ahead of an emergency:

  • You can get a treatment plan started more quickly because the decisions have already been made.
  • Your family can avoid conflict with one another and stress over having to make critical decisions on your behalf
  • Your family members can feel a sense of certainty and clarity because everyone is “on the same page”

Because your advance directive will also include a designated health care proxy (decision-maker) for anything not covered in the directive, everyone will be clear on who has that authority and responsibility.

What Is Included In Advance Medical Directives

Your advance medical directives include several documents. Many of these will be crafted when you build your estate plan with our team, and they include:

  • A living will specifying what you do and do not want regarding medical care
  • A named healthcare proxy to make any decisions not covered in the living will (this can be an individual or a small group)
  • Your wishes for anatomical donation in the event of your death
  • Notes regarding religious considerations as they relate to your medical care

While you can and should be detailed about your wishes for treatment, it is also very important to pick a trusted health care proxy and discuss your wishes with them well in advance. There are many medical decisions in your estate plan that you may not have thought of before. There may be avenues of care that are available now that weren’t when you created the plan. Your medical proxy has to be able to understand what’s at stake and how you would want treatment when you cannot make the choices for yourself.

Additionally, many people of faith may come up against treatment options that conflict with their religious views, or they may wish to have spiritual leaders visit them (such as in the case of last rites). You should be sure to include this information in your living will and discuss it with your proxy.

Our Lawyers Care About You And Respect Your Time

While our attorneys are dedicated to cost-effective, fast service, they do not sacrifice their standards for quality legal service. They can move with speed because of their detailed understanding of the legal realities ahead of you. But, they still put your needs and goals regarding your estate plan first.

Learn more about our lawyers and how they can help you in a free consultation by calling 888-712-4771 or sending an email.