Tag Archives: Living Will

What is the difference between a Designation of Health Care Surrogate and a Living Will?

A Designation of Health Care Surrogate is a document that allows you to name an agent to make medical treatment decisions for you in accordance with your wishes if you are not able to do so yourself.

A Living Will is a document that allows you to address what kind of medical treatment you would like to receive if you ever face a terminal or irreversible medical condition. It is often referred to as the document where you tell the doctors to “pull the plug.” Most people request that all treatments other than those needed to keep them comfortable be discontinued or withheld so they can be allowed to die as gently as possible.

The main difference between the two documents is that the Living Will is where you actually express your own specific preferences as to the use of life-sustaining treatment, and the Designation of Health Care Surrogate is where you name one or more persons to make most medical decisions for you.

It is not uncommon to combine a Living Will and a Designation of Health Care Surrogate into a single form. Preparing the two documents as separate forms or as a single form are both valid ways to address the medical issues.

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

The older population- persons 65 years or older- numbered 42.6 million according to the latest Census Bureau statistics.  In addition, according to the same National Population Projections, by the year 2033, the population 65 and older will outnumber people younger than 18 in the U.S.   Our nation is rapidly aging.

Improved healthcare and decreased fertility rates have generated these rising numbers of the older population.  These numbers represent a success story for increased longevity, but it also presents many challenges for the younger folks who are left to care for the aged.

Adult children, age 50 and over, taking care of their aging parents has tripled since 1994, according to AARP.  Caring for elder parents presents difficult challenges, especially when a crisis hits, such as a widowed mother or father who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or when a parent falls and is never able to fully recover their independence.  The adult child, often still working full-time, or even caring for their own young children, may become the only person to step in and manage the care.

Ideally, before the parent becomes ill, the family has already had “The Talk”.  This is where the adult children have discussed with their elders how they would like their senior years handled.  Unfortunately, this rarely happens, because we human beings aren’t really wired to think too much about aging and death.  It is also a very emotionally difficult talk; sometimes it’s not the elder who resists, but the child who cannot bear to think about losing a parent.  In this case, I  recommend that my elder clients put EVERYTHING in writing, not only their estate plans, but directions concerning personal health care decisions, and desires regarding aging in-home or in a residential facility.  And don’t leave out the MONEY TALK.  Senior care is expensive.  Children should have an understanding of what type of care you can afford.

The Law Office of Debra G. Simms offers Elder Law services to help families prepare to care for their loved ones. Call us today at (386) 256-4882.

 

A Florida appeals court has decided that the ashes of a young man killed in a car crash cannot be legally divided between his divorced, feuding parents. The Court ruled that the remains of the young man are not “property” that can be halved into two equal parts, and ruled in favor of the boy’s mother who opposed the division of her son’s ashes on legal grounds.
“It is a sorrowful matter to have relatives disputing in court over the remains of the deceased,” wrote the Judge. Indeed, as a probate lawyer, I have seen many families fighting over this very same issue as well as over the initial decision whether to be cremated or not.
The Court in this case noted that the young man didn’t leave a will or any instructions on how to treat his remains. No one could contemplate this type of scenario. This young man, a recent University graduate, no doubt, ever contemplated any end of life decisions, let alone those concerning his remains. However, this case is a wake up call for those of us who wish to be cremated, or have any particular funeral or memorial wishes.
I always ask my estate planning clients if they have any particular wishes concerning these issues. Most folks today express a desire for cremation, and many have already made pre-need arrangements. But, too many do not want to think about it, or put their wishes in writing, and this could have unfortunate consequences if their loved ones have different ideas.
At the Law Office of Debra G. Simms, all end of life decisions are discussed. Even the uncomfortable ones. Please call us for your estate planning consultation.

To contact attorney Debra G. Simms, P.A. in Port Orange or New Smyrna Beach, FL please call 877.447.4667.

Baby Boomer Living Will

Many of us Baby Boomers have parents reaching the end of their lives.  Some of us know what our parents want when they reach the end, but many of us have not had this discussion with our families.  It’s hard.  For us.  For them.
One of the most important decisions we can make in advance is whether or not we want to prolong life artificially if we are at an end stage of life.  We can make this decision legal and binding if we have a Living Will.
A properly drafted Living Will will state your advance directive about whether you want to prolong life after your doctors have determined that there is no probability of recovery.  In Florida, this applies when you are in a terminal condition, vegetative state, or end-stage condition.  A properly drafted Living Will should also direct whether or not you desire a feeding tube or hydration to keep you comfortable.
Yes, these are all wrenching decisions.  But, without a Living Will, the health care system cannot “pull the plug”.
For our parents and for us baby boomers, actually no matter your age, it is much more preferable to make your wishes known by having an appropriate Living Will.
Please contact our office for a consult on a Living Will.  Don’t do it yourself.  The forms on line are often ineffective because they are too vague or they try to cover every possible medical contingency.  And every state has specific statutory language required for a valid Living Will.
Contact the Law Office of Debra G. Simms for your consultation on Living Wills and other Advance Directives.
Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Toll free: 1-877-447-4667
To contact attorney Debra G. Simms, P.A. in Port Orange or New Smyrna Beach, FL please call 877.447.4667.

Contact Us

Port Orange Office:
Prestige Executive Center
823 Dunlawton Ave. Unit C
Port Orange, FL 32129
Local: 386.256.4882
Toll Free: 877.447.4667
New Smyrna Beach Office:
629 N. Dixie HWY
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
Local: 386.256.4882
Toll Free: 877.447.4667