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What You Need to Know About Living Wills and Other Advance Directives

What exactly is a living will? A living will is a document that explains what medical treatments you would and would not want to be used should you find yourself in a persistent vegetative state or have a terminal irreversible illness, as well as preferences for medical decisions. Although there is no legal requirement to have a living will in place. It is the best way to ensure that your wishes are respected should you find yourself in a situation where you cannot tell medical professionals. 

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There are several things you can touch upon in your living will. The State of Florida, through the Florida Statutes, provides a simple template for anyone who would like life-prolonging procedures to be withheld for those who would only like to address that topic in the State of Florida. For those who would like to address their medical procedures more specifically, it is better to speak to your doctors and advise your attorney regarding specific medical processes such as whether you would like ventilation, tube feeding, CPR, as well as a few others.

When executing your living will it may be advantageous to also execute other advance directives. What are advance directives? They are documents that indicate all of the different aspects of health care when in a medical crisis. Technically, a living will is a type of advance directive. One common advance directive is designating a health care surrogate or a person who would act as a proxy and make medical decisions for you in the case that you are incapacitated. Before doing this, it is recommended you speak with your doctor about what decisions this person may have to make in order to get a full understanding of what this person’s duties would entail. If you do decide to execute any advance directives, it is important that you keep a wallet-sized card on your person in case someone needs to access it, as well as let your family members know where your documents are located.

If you are looking to put together these documents, be sure to contact an attorney in order to cater these documents to your specific circumstances and needs. 

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