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Understanding Advance Directives

advance directives

Advance directives give you and your family peace of mind about the future. These written legal documents dictate your preferences for medical care when you are unable to make decisions any longer. This document guides medical professionals and caregivers when you’ve been seriously injured, are in a coma, are terminally ill, have dementia, or near the end of your life.

At Gary I. Handin, PA, we specialize in estate planning including living wills, advance directives, and other legal documents that help those in and around Coral Springs plan for the future. By planning ahead, you will get the care that you want without burdening your loved ones with difficult decisions.

Types of Advanced Directives

The State of Florida grants every adult the right to make decisions about their medical treatment. You have the right to accept or reject medical treatment and other procedures that may prolong your life. The law ensures that your personal wishes are respected even when you’re too ill to make your own decision.

The most common types of advance directives are:

  • Living Will
  • Designated Health Care Surrogate
  • Durable Power of Attorney (Medical Power Attorney)

It’s important to understand that regardless of which advance directive you choose, you will need two witnesses, one of which isn’t your spouse or a blood relative, to serve as a witness as you sign the legal document.

What is a Living Will?

A living will is a legal document that is used to explain future healthcare decisions only when someone cannot make decisions on their own. This document is only used when someone is at the end of their life and is terminally ill with a disease or condition that cannot be cured. It also applies to anyone who is permanently unconscious. The living will describes the type of medical treatment that someone would or wouldn’t want to receive.

Some things that can be addressed in a living will include:

  • If you want to use a ventilator to stay alive
  • If you want fluid or food when you cannot eat or drink on your own
  • If you want comfort care for pain, nausea, and other symptoms
  • If you would like to donate your organs or tissue

It’s important to understand that you can end or change a living will at any time. At Gary I. Handin, PA we are always available to make necessary changes to your advance directives.

What is a Designated Health Care Surrogate?

A Designated Healthcare Surrogate is an advanced directive, which allows you to name someone to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so on your own. This surrogate can consult with your healthcare providers and give informed consent to perform certain procedures that they believe you would consent to.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

Like a Designated Healthcare Surrogate, a durable power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the authority to make decisions regarding financial as well as medical care for the individual who drafted the legal document. Choosing someone to act as your voice is important. Even if you have other legal documents regarding your care, some situations will require someone else to make a judgment about your wishes. Choose a person who isn’t a doctor or a part of your medical care team, is willing to discuss medical care and end-of-life issues with you directly, and who can be trusted to make decisions that will adhere to your wishes.

Do I Need an Advanced Directive for a Do Not Resuscitate Order?

In Florida, you don’t need an advance directive, or a living will to have a do not resuscitate (DNR) order. To establish this order, tell your doctor about your preference. They can write the order and put them in your medical record for the future. Every time you’re admitted to a new hospital, it’s important to establish a new DNR order, just in case.

Learn More About Advance Directives in Coral Springs, FL

When you want to prepare yourself and your family for the future, rely on the legal expertise of Gary I. Handin, PA. As an estate planning attorney, he can help you decide which advance directive will suit your wishes most. Give yourself and your family peace of mind by scheduling an appointment by calling 877-815-4560 or by visiting Handin Law on Facebook.

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Law Offices of
Gary I. Handin, P.A.

Providing professional legal services for the city of Coral Springs. Contact us today for a free consultation – 954-796-9600.

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