Advanced Health Care Planning in Florida
Advanced health care planning, which also goes by the name advanced directive planning, is the process of designating trustworthy people of your choosing to make health care decisions on your behalf if you can no longer do so. These documents can apply to both end-of-life decisions and situations in which you’re temporarily incapacitated, such as a loss of consciousness after an accident or surgery. Although you don’t have to be near the end of your life for your advanced directive documents to come into play, most people associate this type of planning with final and terminal illnesses.
In Florida, you can create a variety of documents that address advanced health care decisions, including a living will, a health care surrogate designation, and an anatomical donation. Depending on your needs and wishes, you may choose to include one, two, or all of these documents in your estate plan.
- 6 Steps of Advanced Care Planning. Advanced health care planning involves much more than just filling out documents or signing your name on a bunch of forms. It is really a process that involves in-depth discussions with family members and health care providers.
- Educate yourself about medical procedures. In Florida, we are all too familiar with controversial end-of-life cases. These tragic stories become caught up in a media frenzy, which creates a lot of discussion but not necessarily a great deal of understanding regarding how law and medicine intersect. Talk to your health care provider about standard care protocols and what science has discovered about the dying process.
- Think carefully about what you want. Once you have spoken with your physician or other health care provider, you will be prepared to choose options that comport with your values and religious preferences.
- Choose a representative and/or health care surrogate. Your health care surrogate and representative doesn’t necessarily have to be the same person, but many people select one individual to serve as the decision maker for all advanced directive documents. Choose a mature, trustworthy individual who will act with your best interests and wishes in mind.
- Talk with your chosen representative and/or health care surrogate. Serving as a health care surrogate or representative is a big responsibility. Discuss your choice with the person you wish to serve before naming him or her in any documents.
- Create your documents with your attorney. Your decisions aren’t legally enforceable until they are written down and properly executed in a legal document.
- Review your documents periodically. Life circumstances change. It’s a good idea to regularly review your advanced directive documents to make sure they are up to date and still relevant to your current lifestyle and situation.
Going through the process of advanced care planning and making these important decisions while you are in good health can provide you with tremendous peace of mind both now and in the future. Contact my office at 772-220-9699 to start the discussion about your advanced health care planning.