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How are a health care surrogate and living will related?

Among other important estate planning decisions, a Tallahassee, Florida, resident is going to want to think about how they want to be treated in a situation where they are not able to make important medical decisions for themselves.

Specifically, there are two related documents Florida residents may wish to ask their estate planning attorneys to draft on their behalf. The first is called a "health care surrogate." A health care surrogate is another, trusted person whom a Floridian specifically appoints to make medical decisions on his or her behalf.

In order to appoint a health care surrogate, a person will have to complete and sign a form which legally designates who will serve as surrogate. Of course, it is also a good idea for the person to check with the prospective surrogate to make sure he or she is willing and able to serve.

After all, the surrogate will have the power to make even life-and-death decisions on the person's behalf, so long as the person is not able to make such decisions to do being unconscious or otherwise unable to make medical decisions.

A living will, on the other hand, is, effectively, a statement signed by a person explaining under what circumstances, and to what extent, they want doctors trying to save their lives in the event that they are terminally ill. While the living will may designate someone to help enforce the document, one need not do so.

Still, a living will would give medical professionals a good idea of what a person would want were they able to speak for themselves.

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