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Guiding Medical Choices: The Role of Advanced Directives in Estate Management

Advanced directives are legal documents that play a crucial role in ensuring that an individual’s wishes regarding medical treatment and end-of-life decisions are respected and followed. The necessity of advanced directives is apparent when one considers the unpredictability of life and the potential incapacity that may arise due to illness or unforeseen circumstances. These directives typically encompass two primary components in a Florida estate plan: First, instructions to the Hospital and Medical providers that include Living Will and the Health Care Surrogate powers. Second, instructions to your family to avoid or minimize conflicts in high emotional times.

Empowering Your Future with Legacy Law Associates

Engaging in estate planning with our seasoned attorneys is a professional and collaborative experience tailored to your needs and concerns. At Legacy Law Associates, we create comprehensive estate plans that include advanced health care directives. Our experienced team ensures your advanced directives align with state laws and are clear and enforceable. Trust Legacy Law Associates to streamline the process, providing lasting peace of mind for individuals and their loved ones.

Medical Power of Attorney

We recommend that each of our clients have a Medical Power of Attorney that designates a person or persons you choose (your “health care surrogate) who will be authorized to follow your health care instructions. It gives them the ability to help when you need help. Whether dealing with the hospital and its staff, your doctor’s office, insurance company or other health care providers, they have the authority to do what you need done and to ensure your wishes are followed.  Just because you are married or have children, it does not mean they have the ability to help when you need it.

Living Will

A Living Will authorizes your family to make those most crucial and life sustaining or life terminating decisions. We want to ensure when these critical decisions are necessary, it is your family or those you designate that are responsible and authorized to make them. Whether your wish is to be kept alive or allowed to die, we want your family to be equipped to follow your wishes.

Health Care Surrogate

A Health Care Surrogate may be one or more family members or friends that you appoint to help with medical matters. Their job can be most difficult and emotional. Because of this, we believe it is most important that you equip them with proper instructions to guide them not based on what they think but what you want.

Do Not Resuscitate Order

Often confused with a Living Will, it is used primarily when death is imminent with no chance of recovery. Think of someone on their death bed. With this in place and posted beside your bed or in the room, there should be no medical intervention that would sustain your life. It is your permission for others to allow you to die. This is initiated by the treating physician and signed by you or your family.  

The Importance of Advanced Directives for All Ages

Advanced directives are often associated solely with end-of-life care. However, health care planning extends far beyond the concerns of older people. Contrary to common belief, these directives benefit individuals of all ages. Accidents, unforeseen medical emergencies, and sudden incapacitation can happen at any stage of life. Life is inherently unpredictable, and advanced directives serve as a proactive tool, ensuring your values guide medical decisions even when you cannot communicate. Remember, just because you raised your children, once they are 18 years of age, you no longer have authority to make medical decisions for them.

When to Review and Update Your Advanced Directives:

  • Changes in Health Status: A significant change in health status may prompt the need for a review based on new medical information that may influence your treatment choices.
  • Relocation: Moving to a new state or country may necessitate a review, as legal requirements and terminology can vary. Your documents must comply with local laws.
  • Relationship Changes: Relationship changes may render your health care agent unsuitable or unavailable to act on your behalf. Regularly updating your designations is essential.
  • Legal Changes: Laws and regulations surrounding advanced directives may change over time. Periodic reviews ensure compliance with the latest laws, providing confidence your choices will be recognized when needed.

Your Experience with Legacy Law: A Compassionate and Comprehensive Approach

At Legacy Law Associates, your journey begins with an initial consultation designed to deeply understand your values, family dynamics, and goals related to future health care. You can expect clear and detailed explanations during your consultation. This conversation may include hypothetical medical scenarios, such as life-sustaining treatments and resuscitation.

Once your preferences are thoroughly discussed, your attorney will draft the necessary legal documents. You can review and revise as needed before the execution process. At Legacy Law Associates, we offer ongoing support for any modifications or changes you may need in the future.

Contact Legacy Law Associates for a Confidential Appointment

Take the first step toward securing your future by scheduling a consultation with Legacy Law Associates. Reach out to us at (386) 252-2531, located in Daytona Beach, Florida. We are dedicated to guiding and supporting you every step of the way.