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Creating a Living Will in Florida? Document your choices now.

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October 23, 2023 •  Emily Hicks Law, PLLC
A living will is a legal document detailing medical treatment preferences and end-of-life care if you can’t communicate or make decisions for yourself.

A Living Will is one of those documents that you hope you'll never have to use, but is vital in the case of a medical emergency. A living will is another term for advance directive. This is a legal document detailing medical treatment preferences and/or end-of-life care if you are incapacitated (can’t communicate or make decisions for yourself).

An accident or illness can happen at anytime, and it's important that those closest to you know how you want to be treated if you can't tell the medical team yourself.

What type of decisions do you need to think about?

Did you know that there are several medical decisions you can make for yourself right now? Do you want medical professionals to prolong your life in certain situations? What quality of life is important to you? Do you want to live at all costs, or go peacefully if there is nothing more that can be done?

Think about:

  1. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – This restarts the heart when it has stopped beating; can be done manually (chest compressions) or mechanically (defibrillator).
  2. Mechanical ventilation – Do you want a ventilator to take over the job of breathing if you can’t breathe on your own?
  3. Tube feeding – IV can supply the body with fluids and nutrients intravenously or through a tube in the stomach.
  4. Dialysis – If your kidneys are failing, dialysis manages fluid levels and removes waste from your blood.
  5. Antibiotics or antivirals – Treats many infections. Would you prefer aggressively using pharmacy treatments if you are near the end of your life?
  6. Palliative or comfort care – Various ways to keep you comfortable, managing pain while abiding by other designated treatment choices. You may choose to die at home or receive strong pain medications, avoiding other invasive treatments or tests.
  7. Organ and tissue donation – Permits temporary life-sustaining treatment until the organ removal procedure is complete.
  8. Donating your body to science – Do you want your body used for science? Your body can be made available for scientific study at a medical school or university program.

How does a healthcare surrogate work?

A Healthcare Surrogate (or commonly referred to as a medical power of attorney) is another part of your estate plan, and this details who can make the decisions above for you. This person does not have to be a family member, but make sure that it is someone who you trust to follow what you wish.

If you are on the fence about creating a living will in Florida, contact us to start the conversation.

Reference: Elder Law Answers (October 23, 2023), What to Know About Creating a Living Will

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