Posts Tagged life support

Living Wills in Florida

Family members often struggle with end-of-life decisions regarding a loved one. The decision to take a family member off life support can haunt someone for the rest of his or her life. Fortunately, there is an estate planning tool that families can utilize to help obliviate some of the stress and uncertainty associated with making end-of-life decisions for a family member. What Is a Living Will and What Does It Do? A living will is a legal document that sets out one’s end-of-life wishes. Specifically, a living will addresses the use of life support and other treatments at the end of one’s life or in the event of a serious accident or debilitating medical condition. In Florida, living wills are governed by Chapter 765, Healthcare Directives, of the Florida Statutes. Florida Statute § 765.101 (13) defines a living will as follows: (13) “Living will” or “declaration” means: (a) A witnessed document in writing, voluntarily executed by the principal in accordance with s. 765.302; or (b) A witnessed oral statement made by the principal expressing the principal’s instructions concerning life-prolonging procedures. Pursuant to Florida Statute § 765.302 (3), once executed, a living will establishes a rebuttable presumption of clear and convincing evidence of one’s wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment. When Does a Living Will Apply? Pursuant to Florida Statute § 765.306(2), before one’s directives in a living will are carried through, it must be determined that: (a) One does not have a reasonable medical probability of recovering capacity to a level that he or she can make medical decisions directly. (b) One has a terminal condition, has an end-stage condition, or is in a persistent vegetative state. (c) Any limitations or conditions expressed orally or in a written declaration have been carefully considered and satisfied. In determining whether one has a terminal medical condition, has an end-stage