About Living Wills
Miami Estate Planning Attorney
It is believed by the Florida legislature that every competent adult has
the fundamental right to make decisions regarding his or her own health,
and this includes the right to choose to refuse medical treatment or procedures
that would only prolong life in the presence of a terminal condition.
Since this right is subject to the preservation of ethical standards in
the medical profession, steps have been taken to ensure that this right
is not lost or diminished by virtue of physical or mental incapacity.
Under Florida law, every competent adult has the right to create a living
will, which is a written declaration that directs the withholding or withdrawing
of life prolonging procedures in the event one is suffering from a terminal
condition. In Florida, life sustaining procedures has been expanded to
include providing food and water to terminally ill patients.
A living will is not to be confused with a simple
will, which is created for the purpose of disposing a person's personal
property after his or her death, and appointing a personal representative
to settle the estate.
Designating a Health Care Surrogate
When you execute a living will, it must be signed by you in the presence
of two witnesses, one of whom is neither your spouse or someone related
by blood. Once the living will has been signed, it will be your responsibility
to notify your physician of its existence. It's a good idea to provide
a copy of your living will to your doctor and hospital and to make sure
it's placed with your medical records.
You also have the choice of designating authority to a health care surrogate,
who is someone that makes health care decisions for you during any period
of incapacity. Your health care surrogate must consult with your health
care providers and provides inform consent on health care decisions pertaining
to you, which the surrogate believes would have been your decisions if
you were capable of making them for yourself.
Contact a Coral Gables Lawyer Today
Everyone, regardless of age can benefit from a living will and designating
a health care surrogate. Since we cannot predict or prevent all accidents
or illness, it's a good idea to include a living will with your
estate planning documents. This way, should something happen to you; the burden of deciding
to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining medical treatment won't be
on your loved one's shoulders. By putting your wishes in writing today,
not only will your wishes be carried out, but your loved ones won't
have to struggle with making these excruciatingly difficult decisions for you.
Susan E. Durre for experienced legal assistance drafting a living will and any other
estate planning documents that you may need. With over 30 years of experience as a
Miami estate planning attorney, I can help you establish an estate plan that will allow you to accomplish
your long-term goals.