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Personal Law: Living Wills and Advanced Directives

Living Wills

Creating a living will and selecting a health care surrogate allows you to keep important decisions in the control of individuals you trust. Here is a look at what you should know about protecting your wishes for medical care in the event you become incapacitated.

Living Wills and Advanced Directives

In Florida, an advanced directive is often called a living will. It is an important document that allows you to choose what happens if you need medical care and you are unable to communicate your wishes. In Florida, a person 18 years of age or older can create an advanced directive or living will.

The important point to remember is that a living will is different than a traditional will. It provides for your well-being while you are alive rather than determining who inherits your real estate, money, and possessions. The primary purpose of a living will is to make sure that you receive the kind of medical care that you want, especially when you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated.

Reasons to Draft a Living Will
Although the state of Florida does not require you to create a living will, several reasons exist for doing so. Having a living will in place delivers the following positive benefits:

– Peace of mind for the family: Critical health care decisions are often difficult to make, particularly for loved ones. Having a living will in place provides clear instructions regarding medical care.

– Avoidance of family disputes: Making critical medical decisions in a time of crisis can lead to arguments among family members. These disputes can make a difficult time even harder to bear.

– Adherence to your personal wishes: Outlining the kind of care you wish to receive should you become incapacitated in a legal document ensures you receive the kind of medical care you want.

Please contact Mann Law if you have any questions or if you are ready to discuss your living will and advanced directive.

What is a Health Care Surrogate?

The individual you choose to make your health care decisions is referred to as your surrogate. In many cases, people choose a spouse, life partner, adult child, parent, close relative or friend as their health care surrogate.

A legal document must be drafted to name the individual chosen as your health care surrogate. This document must be signed and witnessed. According to Florida laws, your health care surrogate cannot be one of the witnesses.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a Health Care Surrogate?
Choosing a surrogate is an important decision, and it can be helpful to consider each of the following qualities when choosing a health care surrogate:

– Dependability
– Calmness under pressure
– Trustworthiness
– Ability to visit you when health care decisions need to be made
– Strength and ability to assert authority

Advanced Directives

While you aren’t required to create a living will or choose a health care advocate, the attorneys at Mann Law recommend that you do so. Without these documents, your wishes can be overlooked, and strangers might make these decisions for you. Our attorneys can explain the steps you need to take, draft a living will and health care advocate document for you, and make sure that your wishes for medical care are clearly outlined. Please contact us if you have any questions or if you are ready to discuss your living will and advanced directive. 

contact Mann Law if you have any questions or if you are ready to discuss your living will and advanced directive.