What is a living will? It is a statement explaining the kind of medical care you want or do not want if you become unable to make your own decisions. It is called a living will because it takes effect while you are still living. Many people think a Will provides this information, but a Will only designates someone’s wishes after death.
In Florida, the legislature has specified requirements for the execution and witnessing of advance directives, which should:
- Express your wishes regarding the medical care you want to receive if you are incapacitated and cannot communicate your own desires.
- Empower people you know and trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make your own decisions.
THE RIGHT TO DECIDE
Every competent adult has the right to make decisions concerning his or her own health, including the right to choose or refuse medical treatment. When a person becomes unable to make decisions due to a physical or mental change, such as being in a coma or developing dementia (like Alzheimer’s disease), they are considered incapacitated. To make sure that an incapacitated person’s decisions about health care will still be respected, the Florida legislature enacted legislation pertaining to health care advance directives (Chapter 765, Florida Statutes). The law recognizes the right of a competent adult to make an advance directive instructing his or her physician to provide, withhold, or withdraw life-prolonging procedures; to designate another individual to make treatment decisions if the person becomes unable to make his or her own decisions; and/or to indicate the desire to make an anatomical donation after death.
DESIGNATION OF HEALTH CARE SURROGATE
In Florida, the person you name to make decisions for you is called your surrogate. Most people name someone they trust to carry out their wishes such as a spouse, partner, relative, or close friend. The person does not have to be a Florida resident; but should be able to be present in order to carry out your wishes.
Schedule a consultation at our law office to discuss your:
- Last Will and Testament
- Living Will
- Designation of Health Care Surrogate
- Health Care Advanced Directives
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Probate Avoidance Strategies
- Disability Protection
- Special Needs Trusts
- Probate Estate Administration
- Probate Summary Administration
- Florida Trust Administration