Legal Assistance in Brevard County for Estate Planning Decisions
You have the right to choose or refuse medical treatment, but what if you become incapacitated by illness or injury? As a competent adult in Brevard County, Florida, you have the right to make an advance directive under Chapter 765 of the Florida Statutes. This is something with which the experienced estate planning attorneys at Cantwell & Goldman can assist you. An advance directive is a written statement that specifies an individual’s desires and preferences as to medical care if he or she becomes unable to express informed consent. It may also designate an individual to make treatment decisions on your behalf if you are not able to do so. This person will instruct your physician to give, withhold, or take away life-prolonging procedures, or make an organ donation.
How to Complete an Advanced Directive
Florida law requires HMOs, hospices, nursing homes, home health agencies, and hospitals to provide patients with written information about advance directives. However, although some people wait until they are diagnosed with a fatal or incapacitating disease, advance directives are often a part of estate planning. Some common physical or mental changes that may result in an individual needing an advance medical directive include developing Alzheimer’s disease or falling into a coma.
Two types of advance directives include a living will and anatomical donation. A living will is a written or oral statement about the kind of medical treatment you would want if you become incapacitated. An anatomical donation demonstrates that you want to donate all or part of your body, whether it is one organ or all your tissues, upon your death. This may be an organ or tissue donation to those in need or a donation of your body for training health care workers.
There is no legal requirement to complete an advance directive, but if you don’t complete this document, the decisions that need to be made about your health care will be made by somebody else, whether a guardian appointed by the court, your parents, or an adult sibling. If that person does not know what your wishes are, making decisions about your treatment can be especially excruciating for that person. Making an advance directive and discussing it with loved ones will help ensure that your wishes are honored. You should let your health care provider and loved ones know that you have an advance directive and where it is located. Some people keep this paperwork in a safety deposit box.
In Florida, two people must witness your living will. One of these people may not be a blood relative and may not be a spouse. If your advance directive was created in another state, it can be honored in Florida.
If you change your mind about your decision, you can change or cancel an advance directive in a writing that is signed and dated, but you should make sure your health care provider and significant people in your life have the latest copy. You can also cancel your donor designation on your driver’s license or state identification card.
Consult a Cocoa Attorney Skilled in Crafting Wills and Trusts
Nobody likes to think about getting sick, but most people do have a preference about the type and extent of the medical treatment they would want to receive in the event of a serious mental disability, age-related disease, or coma. The Cocoa attorneys at Cantwell & Goldman may be able to help you create a living will or advance directive. Use our knowledge of the complex area of wills and trusts to your advantage. Contact us at 866-583-9129 or via our online form.