What is a living will in Florida?
A living will is a statement about the kind of medical care you want or do not want if you become incapacitated. The reason it is called a living will is because it is effective when you are still alive. It can be oral or in writing. Obviously, a document in writing is preferable. Whether it is written or oral, it requires two witnesses, at least one of which cannot be a spouse or blood relative. Unlike a last will and testament, the living will does not need to be notarized. A living will is a type of legal document known as an advance directive.
“A living will lets you inform medical providers what type of medical care you want or don't want if you are unable to do so.”
A living will that was validly executed in another state consistent with the laws of that state will typically be honored in Florida. It is a good idea to keep a card or note in your purse or wallet that states you have a living will, or other advance directive, and where it is located. If you change your living will, it is important that your health care provider, attorney, and other important people have the latest copy. It is vital that people actually know that you have made a living will and where it is located.
Do I need a living will?
A living will is a very important part of your Florida estate plan. Along with the "designation of healthcare surrogate" form, it ensures that your wishes regarding the type of medical care you want or do not want are communicated to your healthcare providers. Additionally, while it is effective while you are alive, after your death the living will no longer has any power. An important question to ask is do your loved ones know exactly what type of medical treatment you want or do not want and, even if they do, do you want to put them in the position of making end of life decisions for you? A living will is also a valuable tool to help minimize stress on your loved ones during a difficult time.
It is vital that your living will is properly executed in accordance with Florida law and properly specifies your wishes. It is an important part of the estate plans we prepare. Contact us today if you would like to speak to an attorney regarding your options.