While we all recognize the importance of having an advanced medical directive (medical power of attorney in non-lawyer speak), there is a huge problem these important documents as well: they are often ignored.  Whether they can’t be found or family members and/or medical staff choose to ignore them for various reasons, advanced directives are often a sticky wicket.

Perhaps the most important role an advanced medical directive can play is leading people to have a conversation about their wishes in the event of an incapacity.  While both Georgia and Florida’s statutory forms provide for very specific designations of care, the most important decision you can make is choosing a person to serve as your surrogate. You want a person who has a clear understanding of your wishes and the strength to effectively communicate them to your medical team.

Both Georgia and Florida have recently updated the statutory forms for their advanced directives, so even if you previously had a plan in place, it’s important to be sure you regularly update your estate planning documents to be sure they meet the current statutory standards.  Once that’s done, have an honest conversation with your health care surrogate about your desires in the event of your incapacity and make sure they know where to find your estate planning documents.