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Handling Healthcare Decisions at the End of Life


It is difficult to think about, much less discuss it with your family. What kind of healthcare do you want at the end of your life? Your preferences depend on a number of factors, such as your religious beliefs, your experiences with loved one’s deaths, and what you want for your surviving spouse and children. It is understandable to want whatever medical care your physicians can provide. However, there is also no shame is saying that when it is the end, you would like to go without much medical intervention. You have the right to make these decisions long before this situation arises, and there are legal ways in which you can solidify your choice, ensuring it is followed.

Advanced Directives

There are three types of advanced directives you can create to put your healthcare wishes into words:

  • Living will: A living will is an oral or written statement regarding the medical care you want or do not want to receive if you are ever unable to make or articulate your decisions. You should speak with an attorney about putting this in writing and how to communicate it to your family so that it is not a surprise down the road.
  • Health care surrogate designation: You may not only decide the type of medical care you want in certain situations, but you may also designate a specific individual to make medical decisions for yourself when you cannot. If you do not designate a healthcare surrogate, then your next of kin will make decisions. This may be your spouse or an adult child. However, if you may wish for someone else to be in charge. For instance, if you have been in a long-term romantic relationship, you may name your partner. Or, if you believe one of your children understands your wishes the best, you may name him or her. You can also name an alternate surrogate if your intended surrogate cannot or will not make decisions when the time comes.
  • Anatomical donation: There is always the question of whether you want to be an organ donor. You can also consider whether you want to donate other tissue or your whole body to a certain cause. You may draw up a separate document stating your wishes in regard to donations upon your death, or you may make it a part of your living will.

Creating One or More Advanced Directives

You do not have to create any specific advanced directives. It is entirely your choice. Which directive you choose to create depends on your exact circumstance. You may be comfortable in making only a living will, or you may feel it is necessary to designate a healthcare surrogate. You may also discuss with an attorney the differences in creating a power of attorney.

If you choose to form one or more advanced directives, then you should speak with an experienced Florida advanced directives attorney at the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. While you are not legally required to consult with a lawyer, this ensures your wishes are properly documented. Using a simple form available online does not offer you the practical and legal advice you need. It also offers no explanation for how to create the document in the way to does what you need and avoids unintended consequences.


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