Advance directives Q&A

Who will speak for you?

UF Health encourages you to become a part of the “Who Will Speak for You?” campaign and provide your loved ones with future peace of mind should you become unable to make your health care wishes known. By completing an advance directive, your wishes during a period of incapacity, unexpected illness, accident or at the end of life are documented as part of your medical record. 

Is it difficult to engage in advance care planning?

No. The UF Health advance directives page,, provides the information and free tools necessary to help you make decisions about your own future medical treatment should you become incapacitated. In addition, offers a helpful starter kit while offers short videos to help guide conversations with family, friends and physicians about your preferences should you become seriously ill.

Do I need a lawyer to create an advance directive (living will, health-care power of attorney, etc.)?

No. Forms are available through the websites above. Also, every hospital in the United States is required to provide patients with information about advance directives, so you can always ask at your local hospital.

I have a last will and testament. How is that different from a
living will?

A will provides for the distribution of your property at the time of your death. A living will is one type of advance directive that relates only to end-of-life issues. In other words, a living will enters into effect when you become permanently incapacitated and your physician has diagnosed you with a terminal illness, in an end-stage condition or in a permanent non-responsive state.

Why do I need a health care surrogate form?

Unlike a living will, a health care surrogate form is the type of advance directive that enables you to name the person that you wish to represent your wishes in any illness situation in which you lose capacity. You may appoint a specific person (surrogate) to make decisions on your behalf as well as designate a backup surrogate. If you do not name a health care surrogate, the state of Florida will appoint a “proxy” in this order: guardian; spouse; majority of adult children; parent; majority of adult siblings; close relative; close friend of patient. If no proxy can be located, the court may need to appoint an appropriate proxy. It is best that you name the person that you prefer in advance, rather than risk having someone appointed.