Health Care Directives, Living Wills & Powers of Attorney

Health care directives, living wills and powers of attorney are important documents that should be a part of your estate planning. While you may have heard or read about these documents before, they can be difficult to understand and are often confused with one another. The attorneys at Hackleman, Olive & Judd work with clients throughout the state of Florida to prepare these types estate planning documents. Our Fort Lauderdale estate planning lawyers are experienced attorneys who take the time to answer questions and make sure that our clients understand when and how these documents are used.

Health Care Advanced Directives

In the state of Florida, competent adults have the right to make a health care advance directive. An advanced directive consists of a living will and a health care surrogate designation. A living will provides instructions on what life-prolonging treatments you would want your doctor to provide should you become incapacitated. The health care surrogate designation is a legal document that names another individual to serve as your representative to make medical decisions for you should you be unable to make them for yourself. Similar to a living will, this document may also include instructions about the types of medical treatment that you would or would not want your physician to provide.

In most situations, the attorneys in our estate planning practice will prepare a combination document that includes a living will and a designation of health care surrogate. This document will also include a Florida HIPPA release form which is necessary for health care providers to release your health information to your health care surrogate.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is legal document that delegates authority for one to person to act on another’s behalf. The maker of the power of attorney is known as the principal or grantor and the person receiving the authority is the agent. A power of attorney can be broad in scope (“General Power of Attorney”) or limited to certain specific actions (“Limited Power of Attorney”).

A “Durable Power of Attorney” is a special type of power of attorney that remains in effect even if a person becomes incapacitated. In the state of Florida, a parent can also give a non-parent authority to make certain decisions for a minor child by executing a Power of Attorney for a Minor. These powers of attorney are generally used when a parent is unavailable to make decisions for the child for a certain period. The parent can revoke the power of authority at any time.

While estate planning can be complicated, it is important to take the right steps to plan for your future. Hackleman, Olive & Judd’s compassionate attorneys will provide the guidance you need to make the right decisions for you and your family.