Protecting Yourself Through The Use Of Advance Directives

We’re often asked by clients how they can make sure that important health care and financial decisions are made in accordance with their wishes if they are not able to express them for themselves. Our answer is that they can have peace of mind by selecting a trusted person, or persons, and signing Advance Directives before an emergency or crisis situation, while they are able to think and have the capacity to clearly communicate their wishes about how they want things handled if a crisis happens.

It is important to remember that Advance Directives are intended to be used primarily when a person becomes incapacitated, but the documents are effective as soon as you sign them. Therefore, it is crucial, that you choose trustworthy agents who you know will respect and accurately communicate your wishes as needed.

The Advance Directives we advise our clients to have in place are as follows:

Designation of Health Care Surrogate: Gives a person you select the ability to make healthcare decisions on your behalf when you cannot make decisions for yourself due to illness or incapacity.

Durable Power of Attorney:  Gives someone you choose legal authority to act in your place and make business, legal, and financial decisions for you.

HIPAA Release: Grants person(s) the authorization to receive your medical information and discuss your medical condition with health care providers. This is not a decision-making document; rather, it is an information-sharing document.

Designation of Preneed Guardian:  Allows you to name a preneed guardian by making a written declaration that nominates such guardian to serve in the event of a legal determination of incapacity by a court in a guardianship proceeding.

Living Will: Expresses your instructions concerning life-prolonging procedures.

If you need help ensuring that your wishes about health care and finances are followed in the future if you can’t express them for yourself, please do not delay, and set an appointment with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate, and caring Elder Law Attorneys. With offices in Orange Park, Jacksonville, Julington Creek, and St. Augustine, our Elder Law Attorneys help numerous clients in the North Florida area create comprehensive Estate Plans that include strong Advance Directives that are compliant with Florida Statutes to ensure their medical and financial wishes are respected.