Sudden Health Crises Require Proper Estate Planning
While most people do not think about their health until they lose it, it is important to ensure that you have a plan in place to contend with a sudden health crisis. It is a good idea for everyone, but particularly those who may have health conditions or may be particularly susceptible to COVID-19. If you are worried about the possibility of being taken ill, having the proper estate planning in place can help to ease your mind.
Designations of Health Care Surrogate
There are two types of health care advance directives recognized in Florida law – a Designation of a Health Care Surrogate (DHCS), and a Living Will. Both can be very simple, or they can be as complex as may be necessary. A DHCS in particular can be as short as a paragraph – naming the person you wish to act as your surrogate, and signed by you, the surrogate, and two witnesses (one witness can be a blood relative or your spouse, but one must be unrelated to you). You may also name an alternate surrogate, if you think it will be necessary.
A living will is a written declaration of your wishes if you should ever wind up in a terminal condition, an “end-stage condition,” or in a persistent vegetative state. Each one of these specific states is defined under Florida law, so that no choices that cannot be reversed are carried out. An “end-stage condition” is a point where a degenerative condition has caused more and more physical and mental deterioration for which treatment would be generally ineffective, while a persistent vegetative state is a type of unconsciousness that is permanent and irreversible.
A living will, like a DHCS, must be written and signed by you and two witnesses, one of whom cannot be related to you. It is important to keep in mind that you are responsible for giving your physician a copy of the document. If you are incapacitated at any point, your physician and another consulting physician must examine you and both concur that you are in one of the three states clarified in the statute. At that point, if your living will requests life-prolonging procedures be discontinued, your wishes will be carried out.
Contact A Naples Healthcare Directive Attorney
No one likes to contemplate their own mortality, but it is a necessary step that should be taken. An experienced Naples advance directive attorney from the Nici Law Firm can help answer your questions about this particular aspect of estate planning, and hopefully set your mind at ease. Contact us via our website, or on the phone at (239) 449-6150 to speak to an attorney.