Often of more concern than our inevitable, unknowable date of death are the circumstances surrounding how we will die. Death often comes swiftly and unexpectedly, but can also be lengthy, drawn out, and every aspect in between. Healthcare Directives will communicate your wishes to your family when you cannot communicate those wishes yourself due to incapacitation resulting from a medical condition or injury. For example, a Living Will takes the burden of “guilt” off of a family member tasked with making a determination to remove life support as that decision will no longer be theirs. The family member tasked with that responsibility will simply be carrying out the wishes of a loved one. The Healthcare Directives package at The Orlando Law Group consists of a Living Will (not to be confused with a Last Will and Testament), Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate Form, and lastly the HIPAA form. The other forms in our package will assist the caretaker in carrying on the financial and healthcare responsibilities of their sick or injured loved one during this time of need.
On a final note, (and I cannot stress this enough as every month I get at least one phone call from an individual crying on the other end of the line because a loved one has unexpectedly taken ill or has been seriously injured) in order to execute ANY legal document, the signer must have legal capacity. This means that the person must be competent, aware of what document it is they are signing, and understand the legal effect that document will have on that individual.
For a Will, the testator (person the Will is for) must have the ability to recognize the natural objects of one’s bounty, recognize the nature and extent of their estate, and understand that they are executing a document to plan the disposal of their estate after they die. The problem that occurs is, often times, when a person waits until they are in a critical position with their personal health or are the victim of a serious injury; they are on powerful sedatives, pain relievers or otherwise mentally compromised. In this state of mind, the injured or sick loved one does not have the capacity to sign a legal document and we are left to let the chips fall where they may.
One of the outstanding attorneys at The Orlando Law Group can help you avoid that inevitable situation, and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have about planning your estate.
Author: Jeffrey W. Smith, The Orlando Law Group
Jeffrey W. Smith is an attorney for The Orlando Law Group. His practice focuses on veteran appeals, family law, and civil litigation. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, serving in Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. Jeffrey is a graduate of Oviedo High School and lives in Oviedo with his family.