Florida residents who are planning their estate might be interested in learning about health care advance directives. Besides expressing a person’s wishes for medical care in the unfortunate event they cannot speak for themselves because of a serious injury or illness, these legal documents have several other benefits, too.

When it comes to long-term health care needs, many people decide to plan for these needs once when they learn they have a life-threatening injury or illness. However, having health care advance directives is a good idea for healthy people to have in place, so that they can be prepared in case they one day become unable to think or speak for themselves. There are various kinds of health care advance directives such as a living will, a health care surrogate designation and anatomical gifts.

A living will is a legal form that outlines a person’s wishes if that person becomes physically unable to make decisions because of a serious illness or medical state. These forms state the person’s desires regarding life support and long-term medical treatment. Somewhat associated with a living will is the health care surrogate designations document. Besides providing health care directives, this legal document allows a person to appoint another person to make medical decisions on his or her behalf if that person cannot. A secondary person or alternate health care surrogate can also be named in the documents. Another form is the anatomic gifts, which outlines a person’s desires regarding donating his or her body after death. This could include donating the entire body for scientific research or just organs and tissue donations to help other people.

When planning their living wills, individuals may wish to do so with the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. An attorney could ensure the document is valid under state law in order to prevent any future family disputes.