Last time, we started discussing how taking the time to plan for your potential incapacity can serve to create greater clarity for your family members and, more importantly, reduce the potential for costly and emotionally draining legal proceedings related to your health care management.
Specifically, we explored how otherwise competent adults under Florida law have the express right to execute advance directives, which are legally binding documents setting forth a health care plan to take effect in the event they become incapacitated.
After examining the first of three types of advance directives -- living wills -- we'll now explore the remaining two: health care surrogate designations and anatomical donations.
A health care surrogate designation is akin to a power of attorney. However, rather than granting a named party the power to make financial decisions in the event of incapacity, it grants a named party the power to make medical decisions.
It's important to understand that the person named as a health care surrogate does not need to be the same person granted power of attorney, and that an alternate health care surrogate can also be named. Furthermore, the document can set forth preferences regarding medical treatment just like a living will.
As for anatomical donations, it is simply your wish for your body or certain organs/tissue to be donated to science or those in need.
While this can be accomplished through a simple designation on your Florida driver's license or state identification card, the wish may also be outlined within a living will.
Our blog will continue examining this topic in future posts. As always, consider sitting down to meet with a skilled legal professional if you have any question or concerns regarding any component of estate planning.