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Healthcare Advance Directives

The term Healthcare Advance Directive encompasses a set of documents that deal with your medical care and end of life conditions and preferences. It includes:

  • Designation of Healthcare Surrogate
  • Living Will
  • HIPAA Release
  • Do Not Resuscitate Order (“DNRO”)

Healthcare Advance Directives are governed by Florida Statute 765 and they are an extremely important part of every estate plan. The first document is a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate. That document allows you to name an agent, multiple agents, or successor agents to be able to do two things for you ­ (1) access your information and (2) make medical decisions on your behalf. The next document is a Living Will. That document allows your agents to carry out your wishes to terminate life sustaining procedures when you have one of three different conditions: an end­stage condition, a terminal condition or you’re in a persistent vegetative state. The third document is a HIPAA release, which allows your agents to get access to your most sensitive medical data. It is governed by HIPAA laws (Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act of 1996), which you might have heard of before. Those three documents together comprise your healthcare advance directives and can be done in three separate documents or all three parts can be combined in one document. You should discuss which method works best for you with your attorney. The last document, known as a Do Not Resuscitate Order (“DNR or DNRO”) is a form or device used to identify people who do not wish to be resuscitated in the event of respiratory or cardiac arrest ­ it is not prepared for regular, healthy people that are doing normal estate planning.

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