Florida estate plans can be very basic, possibly only including a will. However, those who want the maximum protection possible for themselves and their loved ones may need to add additional documents to their estate plans. An advanced directive is an important component of a comprehensive Florida estate plan. Those thinking about the future can address the possibility of changes in their health, not just the inevitability of death. An estate plan with advance health care directives helps protect individuals who may experience medical emergencies or who could become incapacitated as they age.
Advance directives take effect when someone experiences a health-related emergency or progressive medical condition that incapacitates them. In Florida, the state recognizes three different types of advance directives.
Discussions about advance directives often focus on living wills. The terms included in a living will describe what type of healthcare someone expects to receive in an emergency. If someone becomes incapable of making their own decisions or communicating with others, the preferences that they outlined in their living will may determine what treatment they receive.
A health care surrogate designation
Much like powers of attorney, health care surrogate designations give someone the authority to address medical issues on behalf of an incapacitated person. The designation document can also include instructions about the care that someone would like to receive. Therefore, many people choose between a health care surrogate designation or a living will combined with powers of attorney.
Anatomical donation paperwork
Some people choose to donate parts of their bodies for the medical treatment of others or their entire bodies for research purposes. These individuals may not want to rely on their family members to remember their preferences after a tragedy occurs. Filling out anatomical donation paperwork while still healthy helps to ensure that medical providers can comply with someone’s wishes to leave an anatomical gift for the benefit of others after their passing.
Someone’s current health status and personal preferences can have a profound impact on which advance directives are the best solution for their needs. Considering personal preferences carefully is a good place to start when working through the creation of advance directives for a Florida estate plan.