The Role Of Advance Directives
Advance directives play a significant role in elder law planning, although they can be put in place for a person of any age. These legal documents can help you accomplish two things:
- Designate a person to speak for you if you are incapacitated during a medical emergency
- Specify precisely the types of care you do and do not want if you are unable to speak for yourself at the end of your life
It is possible to fill out and file advance directives on your own, but if you make a mistake, the consequences could be profound. My law firm, the Law Office of Donald Witmyer, P.A., can help you fill out advance directives for yourself or to assist another family member.
What Is An Advance Directive?
Most states, including Florida, recognize the following types of advance directives:
- A health care power of attorney, which names a trusted individual (known as a “proxy,” “agent” or “attorney in fact”) to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
- A living will, which specifies in writing your wishes about the sorts of medical treatments you wish to receive if you become ill, disabled, or otherwise unable to communicate your needs.
- A do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order, which specifies that medical personnel should not attempt to perform CPR or other life-saving resuscitation if you enter a state of cardiac arrest.
Florida significantly revised its laws relating to health care powers of attorney documents in 2015, so reviewing your directive with a lawyer to check for legal compliance is essential to ensuring you are truly protected by it.
Choosing The Right Directives For Your Life Situation
The laws around advance directives can change, and even the most well-crafted directives cannot cover every possible medical situation. I will listen to your needs and ask questions to help determine how much detail your directives may need, and which types of documents will cover the scenarios that concern you the most.