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Facts About Advance Directives in Florida


Every competent adult has the right to make decisions regarding health care and medical treatment, but there can be serious complications when it comes to the concept of competency. You might not think too much about what would happen if you were hurt in an accident or suffer from a medical condition that affects your decision-making abilities. However, you can be sure that your loved ones will face extremely complex legal issues if you become incapacitated.

Though you have your own objectives with estate planning, many aspects of the process benefit your loved ones by extension – and advance directives are one such area. In short, these components of your estate plan are effective during your lifetime to address health care matters when you are unable to make those decisions. A Dade City advance directives lawyer can explain the details and assist with document preparation, but here are a few facts you need to know. 

There are multiple types of advance directives. The term refers to any document used to plan for your personal health care future if you are unable to make decisions regarding health care and treatment. However, there are specific types of advance directives under Florida law:

  • Your living will, in which you state your wishes on specific types of medical care, such as life prolonging treatment;
  • A Designation of Health Care Surrogate, where you appoint an agent to act on your behalf with respect to health care decision-making;
  • A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form to prevent health care providers from intubating, conducting CPR, or using other artificial means of resuscitation; and,
  • Anatomical gifts, if you desire to donate your organs.

Florida law outlines the requirements for executing an advance directive. Depending on the type of advance directive, there are strict requirements to ensure that the documents are legally effective and enforceable. For instance, the Designation of Health Care Surrogate must be signed by you in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign. 

Guardianship proceedings may be necessary in the absence of an advance directive. If you do not execute an advance directive, your loved ones may need court approval to make health-related decisions on your behalf. Under Florida’s statute on guardianship, loved ones must file a petition to have you adjudicated as incompetent AND a petition to have someone appointed as your guardian.

It is also wise to consider a durable power of attorney. Incapacity also impacts an individual’s ability to make decisions regarding assets and property, so you could benefit from preparing a power of attorney that enables someone else to act on your behalf. You can name an agent to manage your assets in much the same way as you appoint a health care surrogate. 

Contact a Pasco County, FL Estate Planning Attorney for Details 

For more information on advance directives and the role they play as part of a comprehensive estate plan, please contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane right away. You can set up a consultation at our office by calling 352-567-0055 or completing an online form. Once we review your circumstances and goals, we can advise you on advance directives and answer additional questions.



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