An Overview of Advance Health Care Directives

It can be difficult to know where exactly to start with your estate plan. You probably have heard about the importance of wills and trusts, but have you considered making an advance health care directive? This document lays out the medical care you wish – and don’t wish – to receive when you are incapacitated and cannot communicate your wishes. We will explore this document and expand on its purpose in this blog. 

Living Will vs. Health Care Surrogate

The term “advance health care directive” is actually just a general term to describe an individual’s efforts to make their wishes known about certain life-prolonging and life-saving measures. More specifically, a person in Florida can draft a living will that puts, in writing, which medical procedures they would like to receive if they were in a coma or cannot otherwise tell doctors what they desire. This differs from a last will and testament, which is what most people think of when they hear “will” in the context of estate planning. 

In addition to or instead of a living will, you can designate someone who is known as your health care surrogate. This document allows someone to be your medical representative who can help direct end-of-life medical care. It is similar to a durable power-of-attorney designation. 

Something that is often included in an advance health care directive is a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. This states that you do not wish to receive CPR in the event your heart stops or you stop breathing. Situations that necessitate an advance directive can be uncomfortable to think about, but it is important that your wishes are followed and your family is saved from having to make difficult decisions. 

After You Make Your Advance Health Care Directive

Your attorney will be able to help you complete the important tasks after you create your advance health care directive. You should keep a secure copy in your house somewhere (preferably in a safe or lockbox). Give a copy to your spouse, children, siblings, and other loved ones who might be present if you are incapacitated in a hospital. Be sure to also share your directive with your doctor and all other health care providers. 


For many people, an advance health care directive is an important part of their estate plan. There are many do-it-yourself options for creating your own directive, but filling out a generic form online can leave holes in the document that will make your overall plan ineffective. You need a plan that makes your end-of-life wishes related to medical care crystal clear.  

Reach out to Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio today to begin your estate plan so your wishes are followed and your legacy is solidified. You can book an appointment here through our website or call us at 305-285-0285. We look forward to connecting with you soon; if you reach out, we guarantee you will get a call back.

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Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio

Our firm deals with legal matters involving your loved ones, and our familial operation is prepared to give you caring and effective counsel during what might be a difficult or emotional time.

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