St. Petersburg Living Wills Attorney
With the COVID-19 pandemic, and fears that there will be more to come, it is not surprising that living wills have become more popular today. Unlike a last will and testament, a living will does not leave property or assets behind to your loved ones. Instead, a living will leaves clear instructions for your family members and healthcare professionals about your medical wishes in the event that you cannot express them yourself. Our St. Petersburg living wills attorney explains more about these important documents below.
What is a Living Will?
A living will is a written document that outlines the medical care you want to receive in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot make your own decisions. Living wills typically focus on life-preserving medical measures, or whether or not you wish to be resuscitated.
Living wills are very helpful because they provide answers to difficult questions regarding a person’s end-of-life wishes. These documents can prevent arguments within the family, mitigate unnecessary or unwanted medical care and expenses, provide a sense of direction and peace for the family and the person who drafted it, and prioritize the dignity of dying for individuals.
Living wills are different from the designation of a health care surrogate. The former focuses mainly on end-of-life decisions while a surrogate can make health care decisions for a person during their lifetime when they are unable to do so on their own. Typically, a comprehensive estate plan should include both of these documents because they serve different, although similar, purposes.
Amending a Living Will
The Florida Statutes allow for the amendment of living wills by the principal as long as they are still mentally capable of making changes to it. The principal, or the person who created the living will, can also cancel a living will while they still have the required mental capacity. Any changes should be made in writing, dated, and signed by the principal. Any previous versions of a living will should be destroyed to avoid confusion.
Why Create a Living Will?
Like all other estate planning documents, it is very important to create a living will. In the event that you cannot make important decisions for yourself, state law will dictate who has the authority to do so, and that may not align with your wishes. The court may designate your spouse, adult children, parents, siblings, or a court-appointed guardian to make these decisions on your behalf and these individuals may not always be fully aware of your wishes.
Our Living Wills Attorney in St. Petersburg Can Draft Your Document
You have the right to make medical decisions for yourself, even in the event that you do not have the capacity to. At David Toback, our St. Petersburg living wills attorney can provide the legal advice you need and draft a document that will clearly outline your wishes so they are fulfilled. Call us now at 813-252-7529 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to get more information.