Pilka & Associates, P.A.
Full Service Law Firm for Tampa,
Brandon and Polk County
863-236-9321 |813-502-1097

Your living will: A guiding document for health care providers

If you are considering putting together a living will, it's important that you understand what it is and how it works. A living will is a legally binding document that tells others your end-of-life preferences. It can tell people if you'd like medical technology to be used to help keep you alive or if you'd like to go without artificial life-support apparatuses.

Florida has a special law that allows individuals who are suffering from terminal illnesses to decide to forego death-delaying procedures if they have requested such in a living will. If you are suffering from a degenerative or progressive condition, you may want to include this in your living will as well.

What makes a living will valid?

To make your living will valid, you will need to be competent at the time you create it. Someone who is suffering from dementia or other conditions in later stages may no longer be deemed competent enough to create this kind of document, so it's important to do so early on if you've developed a terminal illness.

You must be an adult to create a living will, and you need to sign it in the presence of two witnesses. At least one of those witnesses may not be blood relatives or your spouse.

What happens if a physician doesn't want to listen to your living will?

A living will asserts your wishes. If a physician doesn't want to follow your wishes, then they need to make a reasonable effort to transfer you to a health care provider who will within seven days.

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