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Health Care Directives & Living Wills in St. Petersburg

Trusted Estate Planning Attorneys

Elder law includes estate planning, yet has a more comprehensive focus on advance directives – documents prepared to continue your wishes in case you are incapacitated.

Advance directives include:

  • Living wills
  • Health care surrogate designations
  • Directives to physicians
  • Advance directives for mental health matters

Learn more about health care directives and living wills during a consultation with our estate planning attorneys in St. Petersburg. Call (727) 240-2350 today.

What Is a Living Will?

A living will expresses to doctors and other medical professionals a person’s wishes regarding the use of life-sustaining medical procedures under three conditions in Florida: an end-stage condition, terminal condition, and a persistent vegetative state. A living will is NOT a substitute for a health care surrogate or durable medical power of attorney.

Living wills can be written in general or very specific terms. Elder law attorneys are typically more knowledgeable about many different circumstances for which a living will may be indicated. Living wills should not be merely simple forms but should be as thorough as possible in communicating an individual’s wishes.

A Health Care Surrogate Designation

The Health Care Surrogate Designation is a powerful document that can be used by your surrogate (the person you name) to assist you when you are unable to make your own medical decisions.

What Can a Surrogate Do?

The surrogate can access medical information and assist in making medical decisions when you need it, then, if you no longer need assistance, step out until you need help again. With a health care surrogate in place, medical staff will be able to provide your named surrogate with full information about your health status. The surrogate can also hire medical personnel for you, access insurance information, and make a variety of important decisions on your behalf.

What If I Do Not Name a Surrogate?

If you do not name a person to make decisions for you at the time you need them, two things could happen: Either the hospital could designate a Health Care Proxy to make decisions for you, or a court could appoint a guardian. In both cases, there are various limitations made upon the decision maker and someone who does not know you will choose your decision maker for you.

Contact Hill & Kinsella to schedule a consultation with an experienced St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer.

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