Advanced Directives: Preparing for the Unexpected

Life is unpredictable, which underscores the importance of having advanced directives in place as part of your estate plan. Regardless of age, it is vital to consider and document your health care choices in the event of catastrophic illness or injury that leaves you unable to voice your preferences when it is needed most. 

Advanced Directives are legally binding documents that communicate your wishes for medical interventions so that your loved ones are not left guessing what should be done if you become incapacitated. Disputes between family members regarding health care treatments can lead to court intervention, where a judge may appoint someone to make choices for you that do not align with your wishes. 

Compassionate Legal Guidance

At Legacy Law Associates we understand the sensitive nature of end-of-life matters. Our estate planning lawyers navigate discussions with compassion and care. We take the time to understand your needs, concerns, and objectives. We explain each document thoroughly, ensuring you comprehend the implications of your choices. By discussing various medical scenarios, we can help you articulate your wishes clearly.

Advanced Directive Documents include:

  • Health Care Surrogate: This legal document allows you to appoint an agent to manage your health care decisions if you are physically or mentally incapacitated. Choosing someone you trust who can adhere to your wishes and values regarding health care and end-of-life issues is important. An agent may be a spouse, family member, or a trusted friend who can speak on your behalf. You may also assign an alternate agent if your primary agent is unavailable when needed.
  • Living Will: A Living Will enables you to specify your preferences for medical treatments you would or would not want for end-of-life care. Examples are mechanical ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, blood transfusions, organ donation, and comfort care, like pain management. 
  • Durable Power of Attorney: Unlike health care directives, a durable power of attorney is a legally binding document that empowers a person you choose to manage your legal, business, and financial matters. The powers bestowed by this document can be very specific, general, or time-limited. 
  • Do Not Resuscitate (DNR): To establish this advanced directive, your physician will write an order in your medical chart indicating your preference against cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A DNR can be requested when a patient specifically asks their physician or when a patient is incapacitated without any chance of recovery from a chronic, terminal, or end-stage condition. 

Can Advanced Directives be Revoked or Revised?

Absolutely. It is crucial to routinely review and update your advanced directives as your personal beliefs, values, or circumstances change. Additionally, reviewing your health care directives is essential if you have a new diagnosis or a change in marital status. In Florida, an ex-spouse is automatically removed as your health care agent unless your advance directive explicitly states otherwise.

Legacy Law Associates: Crafting Advanced Directives with Precision

There is no legal requirement to consult an attorney to execute advanced directives in Florida. However, having an experienced attorney ensures that these documents are accurate and legally compliant without the risk of misinterpretation or ambiguity. Legally sound documents can prevent disputes among family members and caregivers. If your directives are challenged, the experienced estate planning lawyers at Legacy Law Associates are your advocates who understand your intentions and can represent your interests. 

Contact Legacy Law Associates at (386) 252-2531 to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney who can guide you through the process with professionalism and thoroughness and ensure your healthcare wishes are legally protected.


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