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Living Wills

Jacksonville Probate and Estate Planning Lawyers

Living Wills

Often people confuse a living will with a Will or a living trust, but they are three completely different types of documents. Wills and living trusts are financial documents which allow you to plan for the distribution of your financial assets and property after your death. A living will only deals with medical issues while you are still living.

A living will is a document which tells your doctor or other health care providers whether or not you want life-prolonging treatments or procedures administered to you if you are in a terminal condition, a persistent vegetative state or an end-stage condition. It is called a “living will” because it takes effect while you are still living.

A Florida living will goes into effect when (1) your doctor has a copy of it, and (2) your doctor has concluded that you are no longer able to make your own health care decisions, and (3) your doctor and another doctor have determined that you are in a terminal condition, a persistent vegetative state or an end-stage condition.

Life prolonging treatments are treatments or procedures that are not expected to cure your terminal condition or make you better. They only prolong dying. Examples are mechanical respirators which help you breathe and kidney dialysis which clears your body of wastes.

A living will is not the same as a “Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)” order. While a Florida living will covers almost all types of life-prolonging treatments and procedures a “Do Not Resuscitate” order covers two types of life-threatening situations. A DNR order is a document prepared by your doctor at your direction and placed in your medical records. It states that if you suffer cardiac arrest (your heart stops beating) or respiratory arrest (you stop breathing), your health care providers are not to try and revive you by any means.

My firm has been helping people with estate planning matters for over 49 years and I will work with you to make sure that your rights are protected.