Health Care Directives
Health care directives are important estate planning documents used to ensure that your desires and wishes regarding medical treatment and medical procedures are honored even if you are unable to express your wishes because you are incapacitated. As an experienced Palm Beach County estate planning attorney, my law firm can help you with drafting and executing Florida Health Care Directives.
Types of Health Care Directives in Florida
Health Care Power of Attorney
With a health care power of attorney, you can name a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so because you are incapacitated and cannot express your wishes and desires to medical professionals.
A living will expresses your wishes and desires for life prolonging medical treatment if you are terminally ill. You can also designate a person to enforce your wishes in your living will.
Health Care Surrogate
The health care surrogate grants to the designated person the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf in accordance with your wishes.
A Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNRO) provides instructions to medical professionals regarding your desire that no resuscitative procedures or techniques be used in the event you are in respiratory or cardiac arrest. In order for emergency medical services technicians or other medical professionals to withhold resuscitative procedures, they must physically view this document.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney gives your agent the ability to act on your behalf regarding any financial matter you could legally transact yourself. However, you may also include a clause that designates who will act on your behalf to make health care decisions in you become incapacitated.
HIPAA Release and Authorization
A HIPAA Release and Authorization gives permission to your physicians, insurance company, and other health care professionals to give medical information to the individuals you designate in your HIPAA release.
What If I Fail to Execute Health Care Directives?
If you have not designated a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so through a health care directive, Florida law provides a list of people authorized to act on your behalf in order of priority:
- Court appointed guardian
- An adult child, if more than one adult child, the wishes of the majority of the adult children
- Adult sibling, if more than one adult sibling, the wishes of the majority of the adult siblings
- Other adult relative who has maintained a close relationship with the patient and is familiar with the patient’s wishes and desires regarding health care
- Close friend
- Under some circumstances, a clinical social worker who meets the requirements set forth in Chapter 491 of the Florida Statutes
Prepare Your Florida Health Care Directives Now
It is important that you takes steps now to ensure your health care wishes and desires are honored in the event you are unable to voice these wishes yourself. Contact The Law Office of Richard S. Weinstein, P.A. by telephone 561-745-3040 or online to talk to a Palm Beach County probate attorney.