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.