If you are like many people in Florida, when you think about making an estate plan, your mind initially goes to outlining your wishes for who will inherit what assets from your estate. Certainly, this is an important part of estate planning, but it is far from the only purpose for and benefit of making a comprehensive estate plan. A good plan may also provide essential guidance for while you are still alive and how you may be cared for during a health care emergency.

Living wills

Even a young, healthy person may be suddenly unable to make medical decisions for themselves due to an unforeseen accident or terminal medical diagnosis and condition. In these cases, having a document that outlines one’s wishes for the use of life sustaining efforts such as feeding tubes or ventilators may prove invaluable. A living will may offer this capability. It may also indicate whether or not a person wishes to be resuscitated.

Advance directives

An advance directive provides the ability to outline everything that a living will might and then some. Other provisions that may be included in an advance directive is the identification of another person who is allowed to make medical decisions on your behalf when you cannot. Your preferences for donating any organs after you die may also be included in an advance directive.

If you would like to learn more about living wills, advance directives and other forms of estate planning tools, please feel free to visit the health care management and choices page of our Florida estate planning website.