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Nici Law Firm, P.L. Protecting Your Assets for Generations to Come
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Naples Advance Directives Lawyer

Estate Planning is only partly about creating the right set of Wills and Trusts to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes and in a way that maximizes tax advantages while minimizing Probate. Just as important is making sure the right legal documents are in place to protect your health along with your financial and legal affairs in the event you become incapacitated and can’t make important decisions that affect you personally, even temporarily. A Power of Attorney is an effective tool to handle financial and legal decision-making, but when it comes to medical decisions, Florida law provides a host of legal instruments specially designed to address specific needs.

Naples advance directives lawyer James R. Nici is a Florida Board-Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts and Estates with over 25 years of legal experience drafting comprehensive, practical and effective Estate Plans in southwest Florida. Learn more below about the most vital Advance Directives you should consider in your Estate Planning, and call Nici Law Firm, P.L., at 239-449-6150, or contact online, to make sure the right documents are in place for you.

What are advance directives?

Advance Directives are legal instruments you create now that only go into effect if some incapacitating event triggers them. Advance Directives tell doctors what type of care you wish to receive or not receive, or they appoint a person you trust to make decisions on your behalf. Without these documents in place, your spouse, children and siblings can wind up fighting over what treatment you should get or agonizing over what is the best choice. By drafting Advance Directives and having conversations with your loved ones, you can trust that you will be cared for according to your wishes without overburdening your loved ones at an emotionally difficult time. The most important Advance Directives to consider in Florida are a Designation of Health Care Surrogate, Living Will, and DNRO.

Designation of Health Care Surrogate

If you are unable to make (or communicate) your own medical decisions, your Health Care Surrogate speaks for you and is empowered to make these decisions on your behalf. Without a designated Health Care Surrogate, it can be confusing who has the authority to speak for you, leaving family members and hospital staff in a quandary with no clear direction. Instead, direct someone in advance whom you trust to make the best decisions and with whom you have discussed your desires. A designated Health Care Surrogate can, for example:

  • Provide, withhold, or withdraw consent for medical treatment
  • Apply for public benefits to offset health care costs
  • Authorize admission to or transfer from a hospital, nursing home or other health care facility

You can also designate an alternate surrogate in the same document, in the event your first choice for a surrogate turns out to be unable or unwilling to perform the duties of a surrogate.

Living Will

A Living Will is used to communicate your desires about what types of “heroic” or life-prolonging measures you would want doctors and hospital staff to use. These measures can include tube feeding, ventilators (intubation), surgical amputation, dialysis, multiple medications and other methods. In addition, you can use a Living Will to express your desire for palliative care versus curative treatment and pain management in terminal stages. It can difficult to think about these issues when you are healthy, but now is the time to make thoughtful, rational decisions to ensure your dignity and quality of life are maintained they way you would want them to be.

Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR/DNRO)

A DNRO is specially focused on the question of whether you want to be resuscitated if you go into respiratory or cardiac arrest. A DNRO is signed by a doctor and has all the power and effect of a physician’s order. If you don’t have a DNRO in place before a serious illness but have designated a health care surrogate to act as your agent for medical decisions, your surrogate could create a binding DNRO on your behalf. You can include this authority specifically in a designation of health care surrogate or discuss the issue with your surrogate, so they’ll know your wishes.

Protect Yourself with Advance Directives

Make sure your Estate Plan includes all of the most important Advance Directives that reflect your desires by contacting Nici Law Firm, P.L., in Naples at 239-449-6150, or contact us online, for a complimentary consultation with a Florida Board-Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts and Estates. Our Naples advance directive lawyers take the time to discuss your wishes and draft all necessary legal documents accordingly.

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