Florida Estate Planning: Advance Medical Directives and Health Care Surrogates
A proper estate plan is a comprehensive estate plan — it should take care of your legal affairs, your financial affairs, your beneficiaries, and it should protect you in the event that you become unable to care for yourself. Indeed, careful and attentive health care planning is one of the key parts of any estate plan.
With a few simple steps today, you can ensure that your medical needs and health care wishes will be accounted for and respected in the future. In this article, our compassionate Tampa estate planning lawyers explain the most important things that you need to know about advance medical directives and health care surrogate in Florida.
What are Advance Medical Directives?
An advance medical directive — also known as an advance health care directive, a personal directive, or a living will — is essentially your guidance for how your care should be handled, in the event that you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. While it is not comfortable, we should all be prepared for an emergency situation. You are never too young to create advance medical directives.
If you have specific wishes regarding your health care, it is imperative that you put a properly drafted advance medical directive into place. The failure to do so could result in your wishes being ignored or overridden. Most often, advance directives relate to end-of-life care. As an example, if you do not want to be kept on life support or if you want to put a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order in place, you must do this through a legally enforceable medical directive. If you simply tell your wishes to another party, there is a very good chance that these wishes will be ignored by medical professionals.
You Cannot Predict Everything: The Value of a Health Care Surrogate
A health care surrogate is a trusted person who is empowered with medical decision-making authority. Health care surrogates are also referred to as health care proxy or as the possessor of a medical power of attorney. Even if you have well-crafted advance medical directives set up, it is still important to select a competent health care surrogate.
The simple fact is that you will not be able to predict every medical situation that could arise. A health care surrogate will be able to fill in the gaps left by your advance medical directives. To be clear, advance directives take precedence over health care surrogates. Your advance directives are legally enforceable. Your health care surrogate will handle the medical situations that are not directly addressed by your advance medical directives.
Contact Our Hillsborough County, FL Estate Planning Lawyers Right Away
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our experienced Tampa estate planning attorneys have the skills and experience to handle issues involving advance medical directives and health care surrogacy. To set up a completely confidential review of your case, please contact our law firm today. With an office in Tampa, we represent clients throughout Hillsborough County, including in Tempe Terrace, Gibsonton, Lutz, and Northdale.