One aspect of estate planning is advanced directive documentation. Advance directives are written preferences for medical care when you are unable to make medical decisions independently. One important advanced directive is a living will. A living will specifies your desires for medical treatments if you are unable to communicate your desires. Read to learn more about living wills and how to create one as part of your estate planning documentation.
What is a living will?
A living will establishes someone’s wishes for medical care and treatment if they cannot communicate their needs. Typical situations where a living will may be beneficial are in a coma, badly injured, terminally ill, or in the late stages of dementia. In addition, having a living will helps your loved ones make better medical decisions on your behalf.
Elements of a living will
There are several elements you should include in a living will. You will want to think about particular treatments and procedures you are willing to undergo and which ones you are not. Also, it is essential to think about your desires when you are nearing the end of your life. Do you value life preservation or self-sufficiency? Do you want specific treatments based on your prognosis? Answering these sometimes difficult questions will lead to better decisions in the future.
Preferences for medical treatments
You will want to specify your desires regarding the use of life support equipment like feeding tubes, ventilators, and dialysis in your living will. If you wish to have this type of equipment used, you will want to specify the duration you would like to remain on life support equipment.
You should include your preferences on antibiotics and antiviral medications in your living will. You can also specify your preferences regarding hospice care and comfort when facing a terminal diagnosis.
If you wish to donate your organs, it’s advisable to include this in your living will. You can also specify whether you want to donate your body to science.
Do Not Resuscitate and Do Not Incubate orders
While Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and Do Not Incubate (DNI) orders are typically specified in your medical records, you can also include this information in your living will. However, make sure your health care physicians are aware of these orders so they can add the information to your medical file.
Creating a living will
In Florida, a living will must be signed by the person seeking treatment and two witnesses. One witness cannot be a spouse or blood relative. While it’s not necessary for a living will to be notarized in Florida, it is beneficial. Once a living will is created, you’ll need to send copies to your medical care team, and you should also keep a copy for yourself in a safe place. Also, discuss your living will and desires for medical treatment with your family so everyone is on the same page.
Choose the Boutty Law Firm for estate planning
A living will is one aspect of your estate planning documentation and should be updated every ten years. At the Boutty Law Firm, we assist clients in all aspects of estate planning, including creating legally binding living wills and last wills. We serve all of Central Florida. Visit our office in Maitland, or call 407-622-1395 to schedule a consultation.