Miami Florida Wills and Probate Attorney


An advance directive is a written statement that expresses a person’s wishes in advance. Through the use of advance directives, individuals can avoid guardianships, which are more costly and intrusive than other elder care options.

Advance Directives

Advance Directives include the use of a number of legal approaches to authorize consent to manage your affairs when you have become incapable of doing so for yourself. Elder care is becoming more of an issue these days with people living longer while remaining disabled. The following are tools used in Advance Directives for elder care:

  1. Durable Power of Attorney
  2. Health Care Surrogate
  3. Living Will
  4. Pre-need Designation of a Guardian

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney authorizes the donee or recipient of the power (called the attorney-in-fact) to act for the person (donor) who has become disabled. Under common law, people’s power to act for themselves would be revoked upon incapacity. With a durable power of attorney, your attorney-in-fact can carry out your wishes and in this way your power remains in force. A durable power of attorney authorizes your attorney-in-fact to deal with financial issues, which are mainly money and property.

Health Care Surrogate

A healthcare surrogate has power of attorney for health care decisions and gives consent for treatment. However, if Health Care Surrogate papers were executed before the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the paperwork may need to be updated. Whether an update is needed depends mostly on whether the healthcare provider will honor the health care surrogate or not. Current privacy laws have stiffened. Under HIPAA, the healthcare provider cannot disclose medical information to a spouse or any other party without proper legal authorization. Updating or creating healthcare surrogate documentation is easily done, but can be problematic if you do not have one or need an updated version.

Living Will

A living will is the expression of one’s end-of- life wishes specifying what type of medical or life-sustaining treatments are desired in the event of terminal or serious illness. In many ways, a living will is not only for the person dying, but also to bring peace of mind to the caretaker or family. Knowing what the loved one’s wishes were and that they were followed relieves the family or caretaker from worrying about whether they made the right decisions.

Pre-need Designation of Guardian

A pre-need designation of guardian designates who will be the guardian should the need for a guardian ever arise.

Arrange a Consultation

At the wills and probate Law Office of Steven K. Schwartz, we discuss in detail the options available to you for advance directives to assist you in making informed legal decisions based uniquely on your situation. Please email or contact our office at (305) 936-8844 to arrange a consultation.