A living will in Florida brings peace of mind to individuals and families by allowing them to express their end-of-life medical treatment preferences. By preparing this document, it ensures that their wishes are respected and effectively communicated to medical professionals and loved ones. One key benefit is relieving caregivers of difficult decisions during crises.
Additionally, having a living will in place can offer these significant advantages, allowing individuals to maintain control and clarity regarding their healthcare decisions:
In Florida, the rules for a living will are governed by the Florida Health Care Surrogate Act. This act allows individuals to express their desires regarding medical treatment in the event they are unable to make decisions for themselves. To be valid, a living will in Florida must be in writing, signed by the individual making the declaration (the “declarant”), and witnessed by two individuals. It is important to note that at least one of the witnesses must not be a spouse or blood relative of the declarant.
While a living will focuses specifically on end-of-life medical treatment decisions, an advance directive in Florida encompasses a broader range of healthcare decisions. An advance directive may include a living will, but it can also appoint a healthcare surrogate who can make medical decisions on behalf of the individual. In other words, a living will is a subset of an advance directive, specifically addressing end-of-life care preferences.
In Florida, a power of attorney does not typically override a living will. A power of attorney grants authority to another person (referred to as the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to make decisions on behalf of the individual, usually in financial and legal matters. However, a power of attorney does not usually extend to healthcare decisions unless specifically stated. Therefore, a living will takes precedence over a power of attorney when it comes to end-of-life medical treatment decisions.
The primary purpose of a living will in Florida is to ensure that an individual’s wishes regarding medical treatment are respected, even if they are unable to communicate them themselves. By clearly expressing their desires in a legally binding document, individuals can provide guidance to their healthcare providers and loved ones during difficult times. This allows for personalized and dignified end-of-life care, providing peace of mind for both the individual and their family members.
A living will does not expire in Florida. Once a living will is properly executed, it remains valid until it is revoked or replaced by a new living will. However, it is recommended to review and update a living will periodically to ensure that it aligns with the individual’s current wishes and any changes in the law.
Having a living will in Florida offers multiple benefits. It allows individuals to make informed decisions about medical treatment and provides clarity to healthcare providers and loved ones. To navigate the process confidently, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding living wills, differentiate between a living will and an advance directive, and grasp the role of a power of attorney.
Take proactive steps today and create estate planning documents that ensure that your wishes are respected, even during challenging circumstances. For guidance and assistance in creating a living will, reach out to Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A. Our experienced team will ensure that your wishes are legally protected and provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Don’t wait, schedule an initial meeting today and take control of your medical treatment decisions.