WHAT IS A LIVING WILL AND DO I NEED ONE?

Although people in Florida may have heard of a living will, they may be unsure of exactly what it is and whether it makes sense for them to have one. Living wills are effectively a person’s directions of how they want to be treated in the event certain medical situations occur and they are no longer able to voice their decisions due to their incapacity.

A living will can be an important part of the estate planning process. Without a living will, a person will not be able to make choices regarding the medical care and treatment they will receive in the event they can no longer make decisions. With such a document, people can choose whether they wish to receive certain life-sustaining interventions or whether they wish to forgo them, even in the event their death will result.

When writing a living will, the maker will designate a person to act as a health care proxy on their behalf. Doctors must follow the directions given them by the proxy in regards to the care. It is important for makers to discuss their wishes with their intended proxy to ensure that they will be able to follow the directions of the living will. In the event something occurs and the chosen proxy is either unable or unwilling to serve, naming a secondary or backup proxy is often also a good idea.

When people are in the process of deciding how they want to handle their affairs and their estate, they may wish to consider a living will as part of the overall plan. A living will can allow a person to be able to maintain some control over major health care treatment decisions in the event they are unable to express their wishes.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.