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What are advance care directives, and when are they needed?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2022 | Estate Planning

All Florida adults should consider crating an estate plan to protect their future. Advance directives should be part of their efforts.

Advance directives explained

An advance directive is sometimes referred to as a living will. It is a legal document that’s included in a person’s estate plan that lets them dictate how they want their medical care handled if they ever become incapacitated. The advance directive can outline whether the individual wants certain types of healthcare to be carried out or if they prefer not to have it at all in any given situation.

Types of medical care expressed in advance directives

A person’s advance directive typically explains their wishes for end-of-life medical care. If a person is terminally ill, comatose, critically ill, mentally incapacitated or in some other situation where it’s impossible for them to express their wishes, this legal document serves as their voice. It becomes valid after the individual signs it in the presence of a witness.

Advance directives can determine whether the person wishes to have life-saving efforts made such as CPR, ventilation or a feeding tube. It also lets the person decide whether they wish to leave their body to science or donate their organs to those who need them.

Individuals who have serious critical illness can state in their advance directive whether they want medication to treat their condition, dialysis if their kidneys fail to function and whether they wish to have palliative care if they are terminally ill. This would also entail being allowed to remain at home for their remaining days instead of spending that time in a hospital or hospice care in a facility.

People can include a do not resuscitate order as part of their advance directive.