If you reside in Florida, you have the right to make decisions about your own healthcare, including the option to accept or decline medical treatment. Unfortunately, making these decisions can become complicated when you become incapacitated, or your health does not allow you to let your wishes be known. 

However, you do have options for avoiding this situation. When you create a living will, this document can assist healthcare providers and family members in ensuring that your end-stage medical treatment choices are effectively carried out according to your specific wants and desires. 

living will

What Is a Living Will?

In Florida, a living will is a legal document that outlines a person’s medical treatment preferences in case they cannot communicate their wishes. It is a type of Advance Directive that lets you express your decisions regarding your care if you are in a consistent vegetative state, develop a terminal illness, or have an end-stage condition.

A living will can also help answer challenging questions regarding a person’s preferences for end-of-life care, reduce family arguments about a person’s care, and minimize unwanted medical care and expenses. More importantly, it can prioritize a dying individual’s dignity.

What Are the Difference Between a Last Will and Testament and a Living Will? 

A Last Will and Testament is a legal document outlining how an individual’s assets must be distributed after they pass away. In comparison, a living will is a document that outlines a person’s medical preferences in case they are unable to make these critical decisions on their own.

According to Florida’s regulations, a living will goes into effect when a health care professional decides that a person cannot make their own medical care decisions. This usually occurs when the professional determines that the patient does not have the capacity to make or understand the nature and consequences of their decisions. It can also happen when the doctor decides the patient cannot communicate their decisions in any form, such as writing, certain gestures, or speaking. 

The Limitations of a Living Will

Although having a living will can provide individuals in Florida with various benefits, it is crucial to address the issues that may arise with this document.

  • A living will is not suitable for addressing all issues that can arise regarding a person’s health care decisions.
  • A living will does not act as a Do Not Resuscitate order.
  • A living will does not address a person’s wishes regarding the disposition of their remains.
  • A living will tends to rely on physician compliance, which can be problematic if the doctor is reluctant to follow the living will. 
  • A living will is not always given to a medical care provider, especially if nobody knows about it or it cannot be located.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome these disadvantages, and when you work with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, they can go over all your options. 

To Learn More About Living Wills in Florida, Contact The CYA Law Firm Today

If you want more information about living wills or are looking to create your own estate plan in Florida, contact The CYA Law Firm and schedule your free consultation with Attorney Adalbert “AL” Martinez today.