How does a Florida living will work?

signhere.jpgIn Florida a living will can contain an advance medical directive. A living will is a statement of your wishes for the kind of life-sustaining medical intervention you want, or don’t want, in the event that you become terminally ill and unable to communicate. A living will is typically used by people to identify the point at which they no longer desire certain types of life-prolonging medical treatment. The Advanced medical directive can also lay out an individual’s desire for continuation of treatment in the even that the individual is unable to communicate their desires or but is not in one of the predefined terminal medical states that they have already communicated their desires in relation to medical care.

Living wills are very important legal documents with legal power. Assuming the proper procedure has been followed, a patient’s wishes are taken very seriously, and a living will is one of the best ways to have a say in your medical care when you can’t express yourself otherwise.

Once your living will has been drafted, make sure it’s signed and on file with your Florida estate planning attorney. You should also provide a copy to:

· Your regular physician · Family members · Close friends
· The medical records department of the hospital you’re likely to visit · If you are in a nursing home or are seeing a medical specialist, they should get a copy as well.

Finally, you can put a card in your wallet that says you have a living will and whom to call to get a copy.

While living wills are important documents, many people don’t realize their limitations. Typically, living wills are only effective after your attending physician has declared that you are in final states of life and you are both mentally and physically incapacitated or permanently unconscious. The problem is that many people who are not competent to make health decisions are not in an end-state medical condition or permanently unconscious. As a result of the limitations of the living will, many experts recommend that you move beyond simply leaving instructions for others and name a person who will be authorized to make health care decisions for you in the event of your incapacity.

That is why we would recommend including advanced medical directives with your living will. The advanced directives will allow someone who you designate to make decisions when your living will does not and you are unable to make the decisions. These documents should be in a single document so that someone cannot manipulate your desires by showing one document but not the other.

If you have questions about probating an estate or about a will or a trust, contact the Jacksonville estate planning lawyer or call the Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC at (904) 685-1200.

Source: “Living wills and health-care proxies,” published at

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