Living Wills

For many, how we die is at least as important as how we live. Every competent adult has the right to make a written declaration commonly known as a “Living Will.” The purpose of this document is to direct the provision, the withholding or withdrawal of life prolonging procedures in the event one should have a terminal condition.

A Florida specific Living Will is the document that will express and govern your wishes regarding life support and medical care in the event that you become completely incapacitated and you are in an end-of-life condition (like a terminal condition or persistent vegetative state). See, Florida Statute 765. You may have heard of a Living Will being called an Advanced Healthcare Directive.

In Florida, the definition of “life prolonging procedures” has been expanded by the Legislature to include the provision of food and water to terminally ill patients.

 

Living Wills

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Call 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376)
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What is the difference between a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament?

A Living Will should not be confused with a person’s Last Will and Testament, which disposes of personal property on or after his or her death, and appoints a personal representative or revokes or revises another will.

After I sign a Living Will, what is next?

Once a Living Will has been signed, it is the maker’s responsibility to provide notification to the physician of its existence. It is a good idea to provide a copy of the Living Will to the maker’s physician and hospital, to be placed within the medical records.

Florida Living Wills – Understanding Advance Directives

  • Do you want to be kept alive artificially?
  • Do you want to remain on life support if you are in a vegetative state?

Depending on your beliefs, a living will is often the single most important estate planning tool. Often referred to as an advance directive, a living will allows you to dictate the terms of your end of life.

A Living Will is essentially a written expression of your wishes relating to the use of extraordinary measures to extend your life when there is no reasonable expectation that you will regain consciousness or recover.

A Living Will is governed by Florida Statutes and must be prepared and executed a very specific and particular way. Many companies selling generic or “boiler plate” Living Will forms are not offering documents specific to Florida; when the time comes these documents will likely fail the test. Make sure that you meet with a Florida attorney to prepare your Living Will.

Every Family’s Nightmare. Do you remember Terri Schiavo’s parent’s decade long battle because she failed to execute a Living Will? If not, because Mrs. Schiavo did not have a Living Will her parents and her husband went to Court to determine what end life care would be afforded to Mrs. Schiavo. The then Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, and the Florida Legislature, in an emergency session, intervened to reinsert Mrs. Schiavo’s feeding tube to prolong life sustaining care.

Mrs. Schiavo’s husband testified that his wife would not want prolonged, life sustaining care. Mrs. Schiavo’s parents wanted this to be a family decision. There was no written evidence of Mrs. Shiavo’s wishes. In the end, the Court sided with Mr. Schiavo, despite the allegations that he had other, self-interests. If you want to help your family and loved ones avoid a potentially decade-long legal dispute, contact TK LAW to help you prepare and execute a Living Will.

Make sure that your instructions are clear and that your Living Will expresses your wishes.

Contact an estate planning attorney at TK Law in Orlando, Florida, to discuss your estate planning needs: 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376)