Living Wills And Health Care Surrogates

Florida law allows individuals to create advance health care directives, which are commonly referred to as living wills and health care surrogates, in order to ensure that their decisions regarding health care will still be respected if they become incapacitated.

The law allows an individual while of sound mind to instruct a physician to provide, withhold or withdraw life-prolonging procedures. Health care surrogates may also authorize another individual to make decisions regarding medical treatment if the person is unable to make his or her own decisions. A health care surrogate can also authorize the donation of an organ or other body part following death.

At the law office of J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC, in Winter Haven, Florida, we help individuals make their intentions clear regarding life-sustaining medical treatment.

It is possible to complete the proper health care directive forms without assistance from an attorney. However, there are a number of other legal issues regarding estate planning that are much more complex and should be handled by an experienced estate planning lawyer. It makes sense to address health care directives when you address these other estate planning matters.

What Is Accomplished By Designating Durable Power Of Attorney?

In addition to designating a health care surrogate, one should appoint someone durable power of attorney. This allows the designated individual to act on your behalf in a variety of areas, including financial, legal and medical concerns.

Often, when individuals get older, they want to allow an adult child or other relative to handle financial matters in the event they become incapacitated. In most instances, appointing a durable power of attorney is preferable to creating a joint account or creating co-ownership of property. Among other things, joint accounts expose assets to the co-owner's creditors if they take legal action for repayment of a debt such as divorce, taxes, etc.

We can answer your questions regarding living wills and health care directives or any other estate planning matter during a consultation. Call 863-877-4723 or email us to schedule an appointment.