Advance Directive for health care and living wills

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Tel: (941) 966-2700

7077 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL  34231

A health care surrogacy document, often referred to in Florida as an “Advance Directive for Health Care” is a legal document, which should be witnessed and notarized, in which the person executing the document (the “Grantor”) grants specific medical authority to a “Surrogate”. An Advance Directive for Healthcare works similar to a Power of Attorney except that it deals exclusively with medical related issues. Some Powers of Attorney include some elements of an Advance Directive for Healthcare, however, for your protection we recommend that these documents be separate. This document may grant unto the Surrogate specific powers to make medical decisions for the Grantor if the Grantor becomes unable to make decisions for him or herself. These powers may include authorizing medical treatments, accessing medical records, hiring doctors and specialists, consenting to surgery and more. It is important to note that a well-drafted Advance Directive for Health Care will only give authority to an agent when the Grantor is no longer able to make decisions for him or herself.

An additional health care surrogacy document that should be considered is a “Living Will.” This legal document grants the authority to a Surrogate to make certain end-of-life decisions. Depending on the Grantor’s individual wishes this document will direct and authorize a Surrogate to withhold or implement certain life-prolonging procedures (artificial breathing, artificial heart, dialysis, tube feeding, artificial hydration, etc.) on the Grantor’s behalf. In light of “right-to-die” cases, like Florida’s Terri Shiavo case, it is important for every individual, regardless of age or infirmity to have a proper Living Will. This Living Will may be included in the Advance Directive for Health Care or may be a separate document.

At Griffin & Griffin we will review a client’s existing health care surrogacy documents, and if necessary, prepare an Advance Directive for Health Care that is going to best address all of their future needs. We will also counsel a client regarding certain legal issues and a client’s personal feelings regarding end-of-life care and prepare a Living Will that best reflects his or her personal desires.