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Advantages of a Florida living will

Last week's blog examined several different types of advanced health directives that are available to the residents of Florida. This week's blog will examine one of those documents in greater detail; the living will. Living wills can be an important component of a well thought out estate plan and can offer peace of mind to the testator.

A living will is not like a traditional will. As its name indicates, a living will is a legal document that expresses the testator's wishes regarding all types of medical care in the event that he or she cannot express those desires themselves while they are still living. Initially, a living will was used only to specify what type of life support or lack of life support that the testator desired. But as the ability of medical science to extend life expanded, living wills began to incorporate other health care concerns as well.

A living will can express all of the health care concerns of the testator. That includes withholding medical treatment as well as what type of medical treatments to provide for the testator. These areas include the use of artificial life support systems, organ donation, tube feeding and resuscitation. The living will can be as specific as the testator wants and can identify in detail the procedures, techniques and medications that he or she wants as well as those that he or she doesn't.

Because a living will goes into specific details about what medical procedures to provide and withhold, the testator should speak with his or her doctor to better understand what is involved in these methods. This will help the testator make informed treatment decisions.

A living will is one way for a testator to make sure that their health care directives are carried out if they become incapacitated. Any Florida resident who is considering including a living will as part of their estate plan may want to speak with an estate planning attorney in order to find out if this tool fits their needs.

Source: estate.findlaw.com, "Living wills: introduction", Accessed Oct. 20, 2015

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