An advance directive, also known as a living will, is a legal document that allows you to put into writing your wishes regarding life-saving medical care in the event that you become unable to express those preferences. An advance directive spells out which treatments you want as you approach the end of life.
Living Wills are growing in popularity due to the advances in medical technology which may prolong life. These advances offer both challenges and opportunities depending on your personal goals and preferences. Call our office today to make arrangements to create an advance directive with the help of our experienced estate planning attorneys.
When a relative or close friend is in a tragic medical state it is stressful and heartbreaking for those who care for them. If this condition occurs unexpectedly, and the patient does not have an advance directive, it can cause even more stress, confusion, and possibly even turmoil between loved ones who are trying to make health related decisions for the patient. To avoid this you should create an advance directive to provide your family, friends, and health care professionals with a direct statement outlining your wishes for what to do or not do medically.
Our estate planning attorneys at The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates, can assist you with creating a clear and enforceable advance directive for yourself. In your advance directive you may want to include instructions on:
The use of dialysis and breathing machines
Whether you want to be resuscitated if your breathing or heartbeat stops
Organ or tissue donation
You may also consider naming a health care surrogate for yourself with a Designation of Health Care Surrogate document. A health care surrogate is a person you can trust to carry out your wishes in making health care decisions any time you cannot give informed consent. Naming a surrogate to speak for you may help avoid guardianship proceedings. Our estate planning attorneys can assist you with designating a health care surrogate.
If you are interested in having an advance directive, be aware that, as it suggests, it must be created in advance of when it will be needed. Health care directives remain effective for the rest of your life, unless you specifically revoke your documents, which may be done at any time. A court may also order to revoke your document, but this is rare. You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to legally create an advance directive.
After the creation of an advance directive, you should provide notification of the document’s existence to your physician and provide a copy of the document to the physician and hospital to be placed within your medical records. It is also very important to notify anyone that has a copy of the advance directive if you choose to revoke the document.
Under Florida law, an advance directive must be signed by its maker in the presence of two witnesses. At least one of the witnesses must be neither a relative nor the spouse. Florida will recognize an advance directive that has been created in another state as long as the document has been signed in compliance with the laws of that state and with the laws of Florida.
The Law Office of Knellinger & Associates provides legal advice and representation for individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners in Gainesville, Florida, and communities throughout north central Florida, including cities such as Ocala, Starke, Palatka, Lake City, Middleburg, Trenton, Bronson, Lake Butler, Cross City, Williston, Chiefland, Alachua, Jasper, Live Oak, and Jacksonville, Florida.
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