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Tampa Estate Planning Attorneys > Blog > Estate Planning > Do You Need An Advanced Directive Or Florida Living Will?

Do You Need An Advanced Directive Or Florida Living Will?


Many people mistakenly assume that estate planning is finished once they draft a last will and testament. They may fail to update their will as life passes by, something they may also want to reconsider. However, a last will and testament only governs a person’s decisions regarding property division. It does not account for a person’s daily needs as their health deteriorates, or what they would want in the event of a medical emergency. An advanced directive or living will is a document that everyone should take time to draft, regardless of age or disability.

What is an Advanced Directive Exactly? 

An advanced directive, or living will, is a legal document governing a person’s health elections. It will contain various provisions about life-saving and life-sustaining measures in the event of a health emergency. For example, if in the event of your passing you would want to donate organs, you can make that election on the advanced directive. If you would not want to be resuscitated should you stop breathing, you can make that election on the document as well. Often if you are scheduled for surgery requiring anesthesia, the medical provider will ask if you have an advanced directive or living will on file. This is to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled in the event of a medical emergency. You can also include provisions regarding pain management and eliminate burden on loved ones during a moment of crisis. Sometimes family members argue about what a loved one would want if they could state their preferences after that loved one is incapacitated. In some cases, authority over healthcare decisions result in familiar disputes that escalate to litigation. Nominating a healthcare surrogate and drafting an advanced directive now eliminates the potential for a dispute later. 

Why Do You Need One?

Everyone needs an advanced directive, even if they are young and healthy. Why? Because it puts your wishes down on paper and is legally enforceable. While no one expects a health emergency, accidents do happen. Even if you are in excellent health, it is good to keep an advanced directive on file and nominate a healthcare surrogate or proxy who can help make decisions on your behalf if you are temporarily incapacitated. It is even more important if you suffer from a disability or medical issue requiring specialized care. Keep in mind that as you age and health needs change, you are able to amend your living will easily. What you decide to draft now is not iron-clad but does give you flexibility. Discuss your health needs with loved ones and encourage family members to consider drafting a living will as well. 

Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C. 

No one can predict the future. It can be difficult to contemplate old age or diminishing capacity, but it is an unfortunate part of life. Taking time aside now to discuss your healthcare needs and wishes before you are unable will give you peace of mind and autonomy. Talk it over with your loved ones, and when you are ready to put pen to paper, contact our Tampa estate planning attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group.

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