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Florida Advance Directives

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Differences in Advance Directives laws between the states are important to understand. An attorney can help create a directive that will be legal Florida and other states where it is likely you will receive medical attention.

In Florida, an Advance Directive must be signed in front of one witness who must also sign and date the document affirming that you are of sound mind. This witness cannot be related to you in any way (blood, marriage, or adoption), he cannot be entitled to any part of your estate, and he cannot be either appointed as your health care agent or involved in providing your health care at the time of signing. Florida does not require that your Advance Directive be notarized.

If you wish to revoke the Advance Directive you've created, there are a few ways to do so. First, you can write a revocation and either complete another Advance Directive or not. Second, you can orally (verbally) notify your doctor that you wish to revoke the directive, and it will be taken out of your medical record. Another way is to institute a new Health Care Power of Attorney.

There are some laws regarding Advance Directives that are only applicable in Florida. For instance, in Florida you are allowed to appoint a Living Will Surrogate in addition to a Designated Healthcare Surrogate or Proxy. The Living Will Surrogate may act in a limited number of circumstances, in which you cannot make your own medical decisions and are not likely to regain your ability to make those choices. The same person should be appointed in each document, but you are permitted to name two different surrogates. To avoid legal complication, you should consult with an experienced attorney who can ensure your Advance Directive documents are legal and represent your actual wishes.

Another peculiarity in Florida's Advance Directive law is that it allows pregnant patients to refuse life-sustaining treatment. Other states will not allow this, and even Florida has a legal process you must go through to ensure your end-of-life wishes are carried out. Your surrogate can choose to withhold life-sustaining treatments such as tube feeding and artificial hydration only if you have clearly added this instruction to your Advance Directive.