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Advance Health Care Directives & Anatomical Gifts



In a course on the “Essentials of Elder Law,” there can be no more a fundamental, core issue than that of end-of-life health care decision making. The right of a person to manifest his or her own health care destiny does not come from words in the constitutions of either Florida or of the United States. Still, the courts have found that some of our most fundamental freedoms appear in both constitutions because they were assumed by our founders to be so inalienable and so fundamental as to be necessary for a free people. Such is the right to control our own health care. The courts have found the right to control our own health care to be grounded in privacy and other more explicit constitutional provisions. John F. Kennedy Memorial Hosp., Inc. v. Bludworth, 452 So. 2d 921, 49 A.L.R.4th 799 (Fla. 1984); In re Guardianship of Browning, 568 So. 2d 4 (Fla. 1990); Cruzan by Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dept. of Health, 497 U.S. 261, 110 S. Ct. 2841, 111 L. Ed. 2d 224 (1990).

As Elder Law Attorneys, we have the privilege and responsibility to inform our clients about the choices they can make in their own health care. Our clients commonly do not know what questions to ask or even what issues are most important. It is up to us to frame the issues without bias or judgment and to then inform, guide, draft and enforce our clients’ rights. This article and my accompanying talk cover these rights with practice tips such as talking points, drafting tips and citations to the law. This 2015 ‘essentials” article draws from the more complete Chapter 27, “Advance Health Care Directives and Anatomical Gifts” in Solkoff & Solkoff, Elder Law Practice Guide (17th ed. 2015-2016).

Read the full report here – Advance Health Care Directives & Anatomical Gifts

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