What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is your written expression of how you want to be treated in certain medical conditions.
Depending on state law, this document may permit you to express whether or not you wish to be given life-sustaining treatments in the event you are terminally ill or injured and to decide in advance whether you wish to be provided food and water via intravenous devices ("tube feeding"), and to give other medical directions that impact the end of life. "Life-sustaining treatment" means using available medical machinery and techniques, such as heart-lung machines, ventilators, and other medical equipment and techniques that will sustain and possibly extend your life but will not cure your condition.
In addition to terminal illness or injury situations, most states permit you to express your preferences regarding treatment using life-sustaining equipment and/or tube feeding for medical conditions that leave you permanently unconscious and without detectable brain activity.
The Fla. Statute that gives an example of a Living Will and the formalities required is found in section 765.303.
Is a Living Will the same as a Designation of Health Care Surrogate?
No. A Living Will is related to a Designation of Health Care Surrogate but is significantly different in purpose and the authority you are granting. A good way to distinguish the two documents is to think that the Living Will is an expression of what type of medical treatments you would want (if you could express yourself) at the end of your life. Other states will use the term "dying declarations for healthcare," but in Florida, we use the term Living Will to describe your expression of your wishes regarding medical treatment under three conditions. A Designation of Health Care Surrogate is a broad grant of decision-making authority for medical care, which may or may not include end-of-life decision-making.
Is a Living Will the same as a DNR?
No. A DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order is written by your doctor. It is also related to your Living Will and may be something you want to discuss with your doctor after creating your Living Will.
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710 Northeast 26th Street
Wilton Manors, FL 33305-1238
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Serving all of the greater Fort Lauderdale area and Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties in Southern Florida.