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Health Care Advance Directives

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Healthcare Advance Directives

Miami Estate Planning Lawyer Serving Coral Gables

A healthcare advance directive such as a living will or power of attorney is a legal document that states your healthcare wishes should you become incapacitated, injured, or too ill to make such choices. It may include which treatments you wish or do not wish to receive in order to sustain your life, such as a life-support machine or artificially administered food and/or water.

The advance directive states that you acknowledge what may happen if you do not receive such treatments, and that you wish to either prolong or end your life using or denying certain treatments. It informs medical personnel and your family of your wishes relating to health and medical care if you should become unable to make decisions about treatment.

Living Wills & Powers of Attorney

Living wills are documents that state your wishes in regards to life-prolonging procedures. In order to create a living will, you must be 18 years of age, and it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. These two people cannot be beneficiaries in your will or trusts, or the living will may not be valid. It goes into effect when your doctor and another doctor who has not your attending physician deem you incapacitated and unable to make your own healthcare decisions.

A power of attorney is a document that indicates a person who you wish to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you should become unable to do so. The person must be an adult, and should be someone who is aware of your medical wishes. They have the power to either prolong your life, or terminate all artificial life-supporting actions.

You should give a copy of your power of attorney to your physician, so they can place it in your medical records. Like a living will, a power of attorney must be signed in the company of two people, and it becomes valid when two doctors state you are unable to make medical decisions. Unless you specify an end date for a power of attorney or living will, they remain in effect until you pass away.

Why have healthcare advance directives?

Healthcare advance directives let your family and loved ones, along with attending physicians, know your wishes in regards to medical choices. This way, they will not struggle with the decision to either prolong or terminate your life. If you do not create healthcare advance directives and become disabled, injured, or severely ill, the state of Florida will elect the spouse (if the person has a spouse) to make healthcare decisions on the person's behalf.

If a spouse does not exist or is no longer alive, adult children, parents, siblings, a close relative, or a close family friend will have to choose your care options. In order to avoid such traumatic decisions being placed on a loved one, it is ideal to contact the Miami estate planning attorney at my firm, and we can create healthcare advance directives according to your medical wishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I create a trust? You should create a trust for multiple reasons. Trusts can help you avoid certain types of taxes. If you create an irrevocable life insurance trust, for example, protects your death benefit proceeds from estate taxes. You may also be able to avoid the probate process by keeping certain property out of your estate. You can create certain conditions and terms for trusts, in order to protect your estate, as well. You can also leave money for charities and institutions in a trust, along with fund your child or grandchildren's education.
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