State Your Wishes

There are many things to consider when deciding what and how much care you want when you are unable to speak for yourself. A living will, also known as a health care directive or advance directive, allows you to state your wishes for end-of-life medical care.

Living Wills Express:

  • Who you want to make medical decisions for you
  • What decisions they can make on your behalf
  • The quality of life you want to maintain at various stages of decline
  • What you want in regards to pain management
  • Where you prefer to die
  • And...

  • When all curative treatments should be discontinued
  • When a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) should be in place
  • How long you want to be on life-support
  • What you want done with your remains
  • Any philosophical, ethical, or religious beliefs that are relevant to your medical care
  • Understanding Living Wills

    What's the difference between a living will and a last will?
    A living will, despite its name, isn't the same as wills that people use to leave property upon their death. A living will, also called a directive to physicians or advance directive, is a document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions. It has no power after death. It may include whether you want to be on a respirator, whether or not you want food and water given to you intravenously, and pain reduction preferences when you decide against life-prolonging treatments.
    What's needed to make a living will legal?
    While there are many places where you can get a template to help you create a living will, once you have created it, you must sign it in the presence of two witnesses, at least one of whom is neither the spouse nor a blood relative.
    If I created my living will in another state do I need a new one in Florida?
    Florida law will recognize a living will, which has been signed in another state, if it was signed in compliance with the laws of that state, or in compliance with the laws of Florida.
    I have a living will, now what?
    Once you have a living will, it is your responsibility to notify your physician of its existence. We recommend you provide a copy to your physician(s), at least one family member or friend, and keep a copy in an easy-to-find location.