Advance Directive Attorney in Bradenton, Florida

When facing end-of-life decisions, it is important to plan ahead and prepare for the unexpected. An advance directive (also known as a living will) is a document that allows individuals to make their wishes known in the event of a medical emergency.  

It is essential to understand what an advance directive entails and how it can help you make difficult decisions should they arise. If you are in the process of creating an estate plan and want to learn more about an advance directive as an addition to your estate plan, contact the Law Offices of David W. Wilcox.  

Attorney Wilcox is an experienced estate planning attorney in Bradenton, Florida, who also serves clients throughout Matinee and Sarasota Counties. Contact the firm to set up a one-on-one consultation. 

What Is an Advance Directive (Living Will)? 

An advance directive—specifically, a living will—is a legal document that specifies the type of medical care you would like to receive if you become unable to make those decisions yourself due to illness or incapacity. It allows individuals to express their wishes regarding life-sustaining treatments including artificial nutrition and hydration, organ donation, resuscitation, pain management, and more. By having an advance directive in place, you can ensure that your wishes are respected even when you cannot speak for yourself. 

The types of decisions covered by an advance directive vary from state to state. Generally speaking, most states allow individuals to specify their preferences regarding various end-of-life treatments such as:  

  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) 

  • mechanical ventilation 

  • blood transfusions 

  • dialysis 

  • tube feeding 

  • intravenous medication administration 

Additionally, some states—including Florida—allow individuals to specify their preferences regarding other matters such as organ donation and disposition of remains after death. It is important to consult with an attorney in your area to discuss the specific requirements in your state.  

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Health Care Representative  

A healthcare representative is someone appointed by you to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself due to sickness, injury, or incapacity. If you have an advance directive in place, it should include the name of the person you want to appoint as your healthcare representative. This individual should be someone you trust completely and who knows your wishes regarding medical decisions. 

Who Should You Choose as Your Health Care Representative?  

Your healthcare representative might be a spouse, family member, close friend, or another trusted individual. When deciding who should serve in this capacity for you, make sure to choose someone who understands your values and beliefs when it comes to medical care—and is willing and able to carry out those wishes even when times get tough. They must also be available 24/7 in case their services are needed in an emergency situation. 

What Are the Health Care Representative’s Responsibilities?  

Your healthcare representative will be responsible for making decisions about medical care on your behalf if you’re unable to make them yourself due to illness or injury. This includes decisions about:  

  • treatments such as surgeries or medications;  

  • hospitalization;  

  • artificial nutrition & hydration;  

  • organ donation; and  

  • end-of-life care such as hospice or palliative care services.  

It’s important that your healthcare representative understands all of this information ahead of time so they are prepared if a situation arises where they must assume responsibility for making these types of decisions on your behalf. 

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Directive & POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)   

Knowing the difference between these two directives—DNR and POLST—can help you make informed decisions about your health care. 

  1. A DNR directive is an advanced directive that you can fill out in order to indicate your wishes should you become unable to make decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment. With this document, you can choose whether or not medical professionals are authorized to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart stops beating or if you stop breathing. A DNR allows medical professionals to concentrate on providing comfort and relieving pain without having to worry about performing life-sustaining treatments that may be against the patient’s wishes. 

  1. A POLST is another type of advanced directive but it focuses more on specific treatments that may be used in end-of-life situations. It allows you to provide instructions regarding specific treatments such as intubation, antibiotics, artificial nutrition, and hydration. The POLST also provides instructions for healthcare providers who may encounter a situation where the patient is unable to communicate their wishes directly due to a lack of mental capacity or consciousness.  

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Directive and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) are two important documents because they allow individuals who are unable to communicate their own wishes due to illness or incapacity the opportunity to have their desires respected by medical professionals. 

Making Modifications to Your Advance Directive  

It is possible to modify your advance directive in the state of Florida. As long as you are mentally capable to do so, you can modify your advance directive as often as needed. However, it is important to keep in mind that any changes must be made in writing and signed by two witnesses. The original document must also be destroyed or revoked when making changes to avoid confusion later on.  

Making modifications to an advance directive is a major undertaking for anyone who has created one in Florida. It ensures that their wishes are up-to-date and legally binding at all times should they ever become incapacitated or unable to make decisions about their own medical care. To ensure that any modifications made adhere to state laws and regulations, contact an advance directive attorney who can provide qualified assistance throughout the process.  

Advance Directive Attorney in Bradenton, Florida

Work with an experienced attorney at the Law Offices of David W. Wilcox if you are considering creating an advance directive. An advance directive attorney in Bradenton, Florida, can help you prepare the necessary documents and provide peace of mind throughout the process. Having a well-drafted and comprehensive advance directive can ensure your loved ones and your doctors will honor your wishes. Reach out to Attorney Wilcox today for a case evaluation.