Advance Medical Directives- One Size Fits All?

This week is National Health Care Decision Week.  It is a perfect time to think about making sure you have someone who can legally make health care decisions for you if you become ill and lack the mental capacity to make your own decisions.

In Florida, this is done with a legal document called an Advance Medical Directive.  My office routinely prepares these documents for clients and they include the Designation of Health Care Surrogate, the HIPPA Release, and the Living Will.

These documents should give the person you name as your surrogate the authority to obtain your medical information and make any and all health care decisions for you in accordance with your values and moral beliefs.  The Living Will allows you to make decisions about withdrawing or withholding life-sustaining treatment at the end of life when there is no probability of recovery.

These documents are state-specific and it is important that you have Florida documents if you are a new resident of Florida.  Documents should also be updated if your decisions change or if you need to name new surrogates.

You should provide a copy of these documents to each of your doctors and you should also give a copy to anyone who would likely be called in an emergency.  I also recommend that you take a copy with you when you travel.

To minimize any confusion or doubt about your wishes or the surrogate’s authority, the documents should be as specific and explicit as possible.  One size does not fit all.  Do not use online or form documents.  They may not be valid in Florida and even they are valid, they might not contain all the language you need for your specific wishes to be carried out.

Finally, your situation might be unique.  I can customize your documents to address any concerns you might have about particular procedures, such as artificial hydration, feeding tubes, chemical treatment, and invasive diagnostic tests.

Questions? The Law Office of Debra Simms is here to help. Call us today 386.256.4882

This blog post is not case-specific and is provided only for educational purposes and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Blog topics may or may not be updated and entries may be out-of-date at the time you view them.


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