A living will is a legal document that allows individuals to express their wishes regarding medical treatment in the event they become incapacitated and are unable to communicate their preferences. It is also known as an "advance directive" or "declaration of a desire for a natural death."
A living will in Florida typically addresses end-of-life decisions, such as the use of life-sustaining treatments, resuscitation (CPR), and artificially administered nutrition and hydration. By creating a living will, individuals can outline their preferences regarding these medical interventions, ensuring that their wishes are respected even if they are unable to speak for themselves.
To create a valid living will in Florida, the following requirements must be met:
Age: The person creating the living will must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor.
Capacity: The individual must have the capacity to make healthcare decisions at the time the living will is created.
Written Form: The living will must be in writing, signed by the individual or another person at their direction, and witnessed by two witnesses.
Witness Requirements: The witnesses must be adults (at least 18 years old) who are not directly involved in the individual's healthcare and are not related by blood or marriage. They cannot be designated as beneficiaries in the will or have an ownership interest in a healthcare facility where the individual is receiving treatment.
It's worth noting that a living will only become effective when the individual is determined to be in a terminal condition, end-stage condition, or a persistent vegetative state, and two physicians certify the condition. Medical professionals must honor the individual's wishes as expressed in the living will, as long as they are consistent with accepted medical standards.
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