Estate Planning & Healthcare Needs
With the COVID-19 pandemic still showing no signs of abating, the need for estate planning has unfortunately risen, especially in Florida and other places where there is a disproportionate share of vulnerable people who may be more likely to contract the disease. One of the most crucial issues that must be dealt with in estate planning, especially for older people, is documenting your preferences with regard to health and medical care. If you do not have healthcare documentation, it is important to get your wishes on paper as soon as possible.
Many Components To An Advance Directive
Florida refers to healthcare documentation as an advance directive. The relevant statute defines an advance directive as a written or oral statement in which instructions regarding the signatory’s wishes on any aspect of their healthcare are conveyed. Advance directives can contain documents like a living will, or an anatomical gift – any statement that articulates one’s wishes in the event of their own incapacitation – though it is not necessary that a person complete all three of these documents if they do not want to.
An anatomical gift form is not strictly necessary, but it is easy to include in an advance directive. If someone desires to make a gift of any of their body upon their passing, they can do so by completing a form expressing their wish to donate and including it in their advance directive package. One can also make an anatomical gift by including a provision in their will, or by completing an organ donor card, but if you make the gift in your advance directive, your principal will be able to articulate your wishes sufficiently.
Your Choices Should Be Respected
The other major component of an advance directive is a living will, which is named this because it goes into effect while you are still alive, even if it is not immediately necessary (in other words, in order to revoke it, you must take affirmative steps). A living will lays out your wishes regarding end-of-life care, intended to serve as your statement if you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to express your wishes. This can specify not only what you want to happen, but also what you would not want to happen – for example, whether life should be prolonged or not.
There is no requirement that you have an advance directive in Florida, but if you do have one, be aware that it must be witnessed by two people, one of whom cannot be a blood relation or a relative. Be advised that if you have an advance directive written in another state, it can be honored in Florida as long as it complies with the other state’s law. An attorney is not strictly required to draw up an advance directive package, but it is always a good idea to consult one to make certain that the documents correctly convey your wishes and will be placed in the right hands.
Contact A Naples Estate Planning Attorney
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the need for estate planning and advance directives has grown. If you have questions, concerns or just want to set up a complimentary consultation to discuss your personal legal issues in a confidential setting, contact James R. Nici, the Managing Partner of Nici Law Firm, a Naples estate planning attorney with almost 30 years of legal experience. This may be the first step toward ensuring all is how you want it to be going forward. Contact our offices today via our website, or on the telephone at 239-449-6150, to schedule your complimentary consultation.