More Than Wills & Trusts: Estate Planning for Possibilities
Concerning estate planning, trusts and a last will and testament are usually the first things that come to mind. Although having these documents secured for your family’s future is undeniably important, there are several other vital considerations, such as advance health directives.
Advance health directives are divided into three categories: healthcare surrogate designations, living wills and anatomical donations. You may not want to address all of these issues in your advance health directive, depending on your personal needs.
If your health begins to decline, it’s critical to have a pre-appointed healthcare proxy to make medical decisions on your behalf if, at some point, you can no longer make these decisions yourself. In Florida, this proxy is commonly referred to as a healthcare surrogate. In the document identifying your healthcare surrogate, you may also include instructions pertaining to treatments you do not want.
A living will is a written or oral statement outlining the medical care you want or don’t want in the event you become unable to make these decisions for yourself. Although it is similar in some ways to a healthcare surrogate designation, a living will does not give another person the authority to make any medical decisions for you. When creating a living will, it might help to speak with an attorney to ensure it has been written in a way that can be clearly understood.
You may also want to indicate your desire to donate all or some part of your body, such as your organs or tissue to those in need, or your entire body for healthcare education. This can be indicated on your driver license and/or as part of your living will.
If you’re ready to get started with the estate planning process, speak with a skilled Tampa-area attorney.