Managing your assets is a major part of estate planning. However, it is also important to make a plan for your future medical needs.
If you become physically or mentally incapacitated, you may not be able to make crucial healthcare decisions on your own. In Florida, several types of advance directives allow you to document your wishes regarding medical treatments.
In a living will, you can give detailed instructions about what types of life-sustaining treatment you do or do not want if your condition is terminal or you enter a persistent vegetative state. You may want to receive life-prolonging procedures regardless of the likelihood of your recovery, or you may prefer to die naturally while receiving comfort care and pain alleviation.
Health care surrogates
If your primary physician determines that you are unable to make health care decisions, a health care surrogate can do so for you. When you authorize a representative to act as your surrogate, he or she can access your medical records, provide or refuse consent to treatments and apply for public or private assistance with health care costs on your behalf.
If you wish to donate part or all of your body after your death, there are several ways you can document this: designating it on your state identification card/driver’s license, completing a uniform donor form or including your donation wishes in your living will.
These types of directives are not legally required and are not mutually exclusive. You can both create a living will and designate a health care surrogate. However, it is important to make sure these documents are consistent and that your chosen representative fully understands your wishes.