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What should I know about a Florida living will?

Floridians who are vigilant about their estate planning needs will want to cover all the bases as efficiently as possible. For many, that includes detailing how they want any potential end-of-life issues handled. This is where a living will is important. Many will understand the basics of estate planning with wills, trusts, asset protection and more. They might not understand what a living will is and, more critically, what it does. Knowing the law for this is a key factor in having a fully comprehensive document that addresses the person's goals. Also essential is legal assistance.

The living will states such requests as how the person wants his or her medical care handled if, for example, it is necessary that they have artificial life-support. Some do not want that and this can be stated in the document. This is not a "will," per se. However, it allows the person's desires to be adhered to if these circumstances arise. Knowing the basic elements of a living will can help in deciding on how it should be formulated.

The living will can say whether a medical treatment, procedure or intervention that involves mechanical or artificial means should be done if it does nothing more than delay the inevitable and the person is terminal with or without the machine use or treatment. This will not involve medication or procedures that are used to eliminate pain. To have a living will, the person must meet the following criteria: he or she must be competent; the person must be an adult; it must be signed by the principal; and there must be two subscribing witnesses, neither of which can be a spouse or a blood relative.

It is wise to remember that the living will can be revoked at any time - it is not permanent. To revoke it, the person must do one of the following: do so in writing on a signed and dated document; destroy the declaration; make an oral statement that it is to be revoked; create an advanced directive that is different after the original has been completed; or have a divorce that revokes a former spouse from being the surrogate.

A living will is an important document for many people as they have strong beliefs and desires as to how they want their situation addressed in these circumstances. Having legal advice to understand the entire process is something that should not be ignored. A law firm that has experience in helping Floridians with a living will or any other estate planning document should be called for guidance and assistance.

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