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Living Wills

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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.

Contact me, Susan E. Durre for experienced legal assistance drafting a living will and any other estate planning documents that you may need. With over 45 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does everyone have to go through probate? Unless an estate is worth less than $75,000, formal administration, or regular probate, is necessary. There are ways to avoid the probate process , such as setting up revocable trusts or gifting a certain amount of money or assets to beneficiaries while you are still alive.
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