Florida Attorneys Assist with Advance Directives to Honor Your Wishes
Sound decisions about your medical treatment
Every Florida resident has the right to make decisions about health, medicines and medical care, including the right to choose or refuse medical treatment. When medical conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or a coma render someone unable to make healthcare decisions, that person is considered incapacitated. Advance directives, prepared while you are in full possession of your faculties, can help ensure that you receive the care you want — and only the care you want — should you need it. Our attorneys at Gierach and Gierach, P.A. help you think through the issues, support your decisions and then craft directives that clearly, and legally, convey your wishes to family and medical personnel.
Florida advance directives — a summary
Florida Statute §765 authorizes every Florida adult to create an advance directive instructing an attending physician to provide, withhold or withdraw life-prolonging procedures and to appoint another person to make medical care decisions when the incapacitated person cannot. In Florida, there are three kinds of Florida advance directive documents: a living will, a designated healthcare surrogate and a durable power of attorney for health care.
- Living will — A living will is a formal declaration to doctors, other medical professionals and family members about the use of feeding tubes, respirators and other life-prolonging procedures in the event that you have a terminal condition or become incapacitated. The principal must sign the Florida living will in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom is not a blood relative. If unable to sign, the principal must direct one of the two witnesses to subscribe his or her signature. In addition, the principal needs to notify his attending physician of the existence of the living will.
- Healthcare surrogate — A designation of healthcare surrogate is a legal declaration appointing a person to make medical decisions for another who has become legally incompetent. The surrogate has authority to consult with doctors and give consent for the performance of medical procedures that the surrogate believes the principal would have agreed to under the circumstances. The healthcare surrogate requires two witnesses, excluding a spouse or blood relative. The surrogate may not serve as a witness.
- Durable power of attorney for health care — A durable power of attorney for health care transfers the power to make medical decisions to someone other than the patient. The durable power of attorney for health care can be drafted narrowly to authorize specific powers, such as withholding or withdrawing life support or provisions for food or water. This type of advance directive in Florida must be notarized and witnessed by two individuals, at least one of whom is not a spouse or blood relative.
By working with our compassionate and experienced team of attorneys, you can choose what medical care you wish to receive and the person responsible for honoring your wishes should you become incapacitated. And by making such choices while you are able to do so, you prevent loved ones from having to bear the burden of indecision later on.
Call for a free consultation on writing a clear advance directive
For legal help from experienced Orlando advance directive attorneys, call Gierach and Gierach, P.A. at 407-545-5744 or (844) 431-0813, or contact us online today to schedule your free initial consultation.