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FAQs About Advance Directives
Is an Advance Directive the Same as a Living Will?
An Advance Directive, a.k.a Living Will or Proxy Directive, specifies the medical care you choose to receive (or forego) in cases of severe injury or incapacitation. Typically, an advance directive addresses sensitive topics like resuscitation, life-sustaining measures, palliative care, and organ donation.
Working with an advance directive attorney to create a Living Will can ensure this vital document is legally valid and free of omissions. An experienced living will lawyer can help you draft an Advance Directive that may reduce legal obstacles and help caregivers make critical decisions on your behalf when you cannot do so yourself.
What Should an Advance Directive Include?
An advance directive usually states the principal’s wishes regarding specific life-sustaining and end-of-life procedures, such as:
- Resuscitation through electric shock
- Tube feeding
- Pain relief and other forms of palliative care
An Advance Directive also names a healthcare proxy, i.e., a trusted agent overseeing the care you receive and ensuring any treatment complies with your wishes.
If you split your time between Florida and another state (or states), you should consult an advance directive lawyer to make sure your Advance Directive or Living Will is also valid outside Florida.
Whom Should You Name as Your Healthcare Proxy?
Choosing the right healthcare proxy is a crucial decision that may eventually determine whether your emergency and end-of-life care comply with your wishes.
Your healthcare proxy can be a spouse, partner, parent, family member, or friend. In any case, the proxy should be someone who:
- Understands and honors your wishes regarding medical care in critical situations
- Is willing and able to undertake the responsibility of overseeing your emergency medical care, including pivotal choices like surgery or resuscitation
- Has at least a basic understanding of your existing medical conditions
It’s also a good idea to appoint an alternate proxy in case your first-choice proxy cannot act on your behalf.
Can Family Members Dispute an Advance Directive?
Although an Advance Directive is a legally binding document, in some cases, family members may dispute its validity or question the conduct of a healthcare proxy. For instance, this may happen when families disagree with the principal’s decisions about life-sustaining care.
A proficient living will and trust attorney can check your Advance Directive for any inconsistencies that could lead to controversy in urgent situations.
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