Jacksonville Family Law Attorney
Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyer Attorney BIo Contact
Areas of Practice
Uncontested Divorce
Military Divorce
Child Support
Domestic Violence
Enforcement (Contempt)
Powers of Attorney
Living Wills
Health Care Surrogates
New Corporations
Landlord and Tenant
Civil Litigation

Jacksonville Probate and Estate Planning Lawyers

Powers of Attorney

Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and Designations of Health Care Surrogate are documents known as “advance directives.” A power of attorney is a written document that allows you to appoint another person to handle your affairs while you are unavailable or unable to do so. The person you appoint is referred to as an “Attorney-in-Fact.” What authority is granted will depend on the specific language of the power of attorney. A person giving a power of attorney may make it very broad or may limit it to certain specific acts.

There are three common types of powers of attorney: (1) Limited; (2) General; and (3) Durable. The first two types expire if you become mentally disabled - the time when you need help the most. The third, a durable power of attorney, continues to operate even if you become unable to manage your own personal and financial affairs, with some exceptions.

As long as you are mentally competent, you can revoke a durable power of attorney whenever you like.
While a durable power of attorney can be a helpful tool, it is also an extremely powerful document and you should always consult with an attorney so that you fully understand how the document works and what hazards may be involved.

Among the important considerations you will have to make is who you will choose to act as your “Attorney-in-Fact.” You don’t have to choose a lawyer to be your “Attorney-in-Fact”, but it is important to select someone you trust implicitly. The relative or friend you choose will be acting on your behalf regarding your financial or health issues. You need to choose someone who won’t abuse the powers you grant to them and will look out for your best interests.

A durable power of attorney is one of the most powerful documents that you may ever sign. For that reason, you should always seek the assistance of a skilled attorney.

Living Will

A living will is a document which tells your doctor or other health care providers whether or not you want life-prolonging treatments or procedures administered to you if you are in a terminal condition, a persistent vegetative state or an endstage condition. It is called a “living will” because it takes effect while you are still living.

Often people confuse a living will with a Will or a living trust, but they are three completely different types of documents. Wills and living trusts are financial documents which allow you to plan for the distribution of your financial assets and property after your death. A living will only deals with medical issues while you are still living.

A Florida living will goes into effect when (1) your doctor has a copy of it, and (2) your doctor has concluded that you are no longer able to make your own health care decisions, and (3) your doctor and another doctor have determined that you are in a terminal condition, a persistent vegetative state or an end-stage condition.

Life prolonging treatments are treatments or procedures that are not expected to cure your terminal condition or make you better. They only prolong dying. Examples are mechanical respirators which help you breathe and kidney dialysis which clears your body of wastes.

A living will is not the same as a “Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)” order. While a Florida living will covers almost all types of life-prolonging treatments and procedures a “Do Not Resuscitate” order covers two types of life-threatening situations. A DNR order is a document prepared by your doctor at your direction and placed in your medical records. It states that if you suffer cardiac arrest (your heart stops beating) or respiratory arrest (you stop breathing), your health care providers are not to try and revive you by any means.

Designation of Health Care Surrogate

A designation of Health Care Surrogate is a legal document which allows you to appoint another person to make medical decisions for you if you should become temporarily or permanently unable to make those decisions yourself. You can appoint any adult to be your surrogate, but you should select a person or persons who are knowledgeable about your wishes, in whom you have trust and confidence, and who knows how you feel about health care. You should discuss the matter with the person you have chosen and make sure that they understand and agree to accept the responsibility.

An attorney with experience in estate planning and probate can help you decide what advance directives are right for you.

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Address: 6160 Arlington Expressway Jacksonville, FL 32211-7142
Phone: (904) 724-4420 Facsimile: (904) 724-4421