There are estate planning documents solely to make you plan towards your health. One of such important document is the living will. A living will is a document on which the maker, known as the principal, spells out their medical preferences regarding end of life situations in the event they are unable to make such decisions at that moment. As the principal, you lay out in plain and concise terms the kind of medical treatment you would want or not want during such a situation. It is however important not to mix a last will and a living will. While a last will dictates what should become of the estate of a decedent a living will is implemented while the maker or principal is still alive. A living will holds only while the principal yet lives and becomes annulled immediately they die. In fact, your living will has nothing to do with your last will or other estate planning document. It stands on its own specifically for your healthcare wishes and not for assets. Your living will can convey your preferences concerning life support, organ and tissue donation, resuscitation, etc.
Living Will and Advance medical directive.
Advance Healthcare Directive or Declaration can be used as a living will. However, while a living will aims at options between lives ending versus life sustaining measures, advance medical directives allows a chosen individual make medical and healthcare decisions on your behalf. Both can be incorporated, that is, a living will can be signed alongside an advance medical directive. Since a living will does not allow you designate someone for your healthcare but rather reflects your own decisions about any medical conditions and treatment, you can have same desires reflect through any person selected to be in your medical healthcare directive.
When does a living will become effective in Florida?
A Florida living will only become effective when your physician notices that you have lost that capacity to make such decisions.
The incapacity herein refers:
- Lacking understanding or knowledge whatsoever of the health care options available
- Lacking the ability to convey your thoughts or decision to the understanding of others through any means possible.
Both points point to the fact that should you fall into any terminal condition that renders you incapable of making your own health care decision, the wordings of your living will become effective and are assumed to be your present decisions. However, if your family or doctor feels there’s still a slight chance of you being able to express what you want in some way, both parties would have to discuss if ideally your living will should be allowed to become effective.
To what extent is your wishes in the living will document followed?
You might be in a delicate medical position where options would be to preserve, or not to preserve your life, or that medical treatment required to make you well could be in a balance of lifer and death, a living will document would attest to the fact that only your desire was carried out. So long your living will is legal in Florida; the medical professional in charge of your health care is bound by law to follow all your instructions in the living will.
However, not all decisions or requests can be granted by the medical professional. The following instructions will not be followed:
- Instructions which the medical professional deems to be absolutely useless
- The instruction violates the policies of the hospital
- Instructions regarding treatments that violate their own medical standards
- Instructions that goes against their religion or morals.
Howbeit, your doctor cannot simply ignore or neglect your living will. If they find it to go against reason or rules, they must inform your family or whoever is responsible for you about the position they are in, if it will be their wish to take you to another location where your wishes may be honored. Furthermore the law provides immunity to the health care provider in charge of the principal. Should anything happen in the course of carrying out your exact wishes as stated in the living will, the health care provider is not liable for prosecution.
You need a Living Will.
Don’t get too sick or to disabled before you make a living will. One good decision could save your life and save your family members a lifetime pain and agony. Contact an estate lawyer or will attorney today.