Every person of sound mind and legal age has the fundamental right of self-determination. It is your basic human right to choose what kind of health care or treatment you want to receive and to refuse it when you disagree with the health care provider’s recommendations. But what if you lose the capacity to decide for yourself?
Effective estate planning can help you prepare for the worst-case scenarios in life, including incapacity. You can exercise your right to self-determination in advance by declaring your health care directives.
Understanding health care advance directives in Florida
Under Florida laws, any competent adult can preserve their right to self-determination by executing a document or designating another person to act on their behalf. You can plan for physical or mental incapacity so that if ever it does happen, you will still have control over your health care.
- A living will: You could write down the health care advance directives you wish to receive and those you do not want to receive in your living will. You can instruct your physician to fulfill all your wishes regarding your medical care and include instructions to provide or withhold life-prolonging measures.
- Health care surrogate: You also have the option to empower a surrogate to make medical decisions on your behalf. In Florida, you can name a health care surrogate to act as your decision-maker for all aspects of your health care.
- DNRO: The Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNRO) is a form indicating that you do not wish for anyone to resuscitate you in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. You refuse any resuscitation techniques.
- A durable power of attorney: Authorizing an agent under a durable power of attorney is like designating a health care surrogate, except that your agent can make financial, medical and legal decisions for you. The authority may have fewer limitations, but it is also more financially focused than medical. A health care surrogate designation will give you more control over your health care.
An estate plan can help you do many things, the most important of which is to be ready for anything. You have the power to choose today for the decisions that may plague you tomorrow.