When Florida residents think of estate administration, they likely think of creating wills and trusts to ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes after their demise. However, estate planning also includes important documents that tell loved ones what to do in case someone is unable to make important financial and health decisions for oneself, such as in the case of a coma or incapacitation.
An advanced directive should be used for this purpose, as this legal document tells family members and medical professionals what kind of care one wants if one is unable to tell them at the time.
What should an advanced directive contain?
A thorough document should explain the kind of treatment one would like in various medical situations, including those that one might not recover from. It can also include treatments that one would not like to receive. The documents included in an advance directive could be:
A living will
This is a written and legal document that outlines the treatments one would like if they are terminally ill or permanently unconscious. It is not possible to select another person to make these decisions through this document.
A durable power of attorney
Through this legal document, it is possible to choose someone to make healthcare decisions on one’s behalf. Any time one is unconscious or unable to make these decisions on their own, this document becomes active. Though a durable power of attorney is more useful than a will, it is important to have someone to trust to make these decisions.
Do not resuscitate order
Generally, hospital staff always try to help a patient whose heart has stopped beating or who is no longer breathing by giving CPR. A DNR asks them not to do this procedure. This document is included in the medical chart.
Other end-of-life orders, such as ventilation instructions and tube feeding instructions can be included in these documents. To ensure one’s instructions are clear and followed when one is unable to communicate them, it is useful to have an advanced directive in place. One way to create a thorough one is to consult an experienced attorney for guidance.