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Two-Thirds of Floridians Don’t Have This Important Estate Planning Document


Though you may have taken the initiative to execute a will, finance specialists at Forbes report that you might have missed a key estate planning document. According to an article published on December 13, 2019, approximately 66 percent of all Americans have not prepared an Advance Health Care Directive. Many could be operating under the assumption that an estate plan is reserved for handling affairs after death. However, there are many situations that will  provide benefits during your lifetime, especially as they help your loved ones deal with medical issues.

A Florida advance directives attorney can explain the advantages of completing this fundamental estate planning document, but you can also read on for the basics. 

Overview of Health Care Advance Directives: In general, a health care advance directive is a written document in which you provide instructions regarding various aspects of medical care and access to health information. There are multiple documents you can execute to express your wishes regarding your medical care s, but one of the most important is a Designation of a Health Care Surrogate.

A Health Care Advance Directive allows you to choose who will and who will not  be included in making decisions about your care. You  appoint someone you trust to act as your agent for purposes of making health-related decisions. If you become incapacitated due to illness or injury, your agent steps into your shoes to:

  • Authorize procedures;
  • Give the OK for other forms of treatment; and,
  • Manage other health care issues.

Because you’re appointing an agent to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated, the Designation is sometimes referred to as a power of attorney for health care. 

Worst-Case Scenarios an Advance Directive Helps You Avoid: If you don’t prepare a Designation of a Health Care Surrogate, your family and loved ones may encounter significant hurdles in managing your medical care. For instance:

  • You may not receive health care in accordance with your wishes and preferences;
  • In order to get the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf, your family members may have to go to court to request appointment as your guardian; and,
  • If your family members disagree on your treatment or who should be the one to make those decisions , the dispute could result in a protracted legal battle.

If you want your significant other to make those decisions and have access to your private health information, and you are not married., a formal document will  ensure your wishes are met.

Other Health-Related Estate Planning Documents to Consider: In addition to the health care power of attorney, you might also opt for a living will. You’re not appointing anyone through this document; rather, you’re stating your wishes regarding medical care intended to prolong your life. A similar estate planning option is the Do Not Resuscitate Order, in which you state your refusal to certain types of treatment for cardiac or pulmonary arrest.  Often forgotten are directions on your care should you suffer from dementia. You might also consider executing paperwork regarding anatomical gifts if you’d like to donate viable organs. 

Contact a Dade City, FL Estate Planning Lawyer About Advance Directives 

If you have questions about health care powers of attorney or need assistance preparing one, please contact a Dade City advance directive lawyer at The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. You can contact our location in Dade City, FL by calling 352-567-0055 or visiting our website. We serve clients throughout Pasco County in a wide range of estate planning matters, including advice and counsel on advance health care directives.



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