When you think about estate planning, a traditional will may be the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are several other important documents you may want to create, including health care advance directives. These official documents may help ensure you are able to exercise your right to decide about your own health care even if an illness or injury limits your ability to express your wishes. There are generally three different types of advance directives: living wills, anatomical donation forms and health care surrogate designations.
According to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, you may create advance directives at any time as long as you are a legally competent adult. You may choose to create a single advance directive, such as a living will, or all three types. Each one covers different slightly different aspects of your health care. For example, a living will may state which treatments you want to accept or decline. You may use a living will to specify whether you agree to certain procedures, such as resuscitation or artificial nutrition.
An anatomical donation document allows you to state whether you wish to donate your body after death. You may choose to donate your organs and/or tissues to people who need transplants. Another option is donating your body for use in training doctors and other health care professionals.
You may want to create an advance directive to designate a health care surrogate. This form allows you to give a trusted person permission to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make or express those decisions yourself.