Consider These Critical Decisions When Crafting A Living Will
Creating a living will that details medical treatment wishes in the event of tragedy tends to be in the forefront of people’s minds when something triggers it. A terrible train wreck on the news or the spread of a crippling disease makes us all think: what would happen “if?”
But the thought passes and the notion of creating a legally-binding living will drops back to the bottom of the to-do list. No one really thinks today or tomorrow will go terribly wrong, until it’s too late. While that may sound like a gloom-and-doom attitude, good people fall ill and get injured every day. The only way to be certain that you are being cared for in accordance with your personal beliefs and wishes is to make a living will.
With that reality in mind, it’s important to understand what a living will covers and the options available to Floridians. Here are some things to consider when creating a living will.
What Exactly Is A Living Will?
A living will is a document that provides legally-binding direction if you become permanently sick, slip into a comma, need emergency medical treatment and are unable to advocate for yourself. These documents are done at the state level and are not generally enforceable at the federal level or in other jurisdictions. A living will is generally respected and followed in other states although it lacks true force of law. If you have moved to Florida from another state or country, it’s important to file an updated document as soon as possible for your protection.
How To Choose A Health Care Surrogate
In Florida, the person you choose to make medical decisions, if you are unable, is known as a “surrogate.” When asking someone to make these critical life-altering decisions, there are a few important qualities that generally stand above the rest.
The first thing to look for in a surrogate is trustworthiness. You will be detailing what your unique wishes are under heightened circumstances. It’s imperative that you select someone who understands and would not substitute their personal beliefs or wishes when the critical moment arrives.
A second important quality is that they have strength of character. Consider that you are in an extreme medical condition and have given the directive to not resuscitate. This can be an incredibly emotional time for loved ones who may want to cling to hope. Your surrogate will require a certain level of determination to follow through and advise doctors accordingly in the face of mounting pressure. Acting as a surrogate is not an enviable task.
Consider Unlikely Scenarios
Although a living will appears to be only voidable by the person who creates it, in some rare cases a living will can be thrown out. This extremely unlikely scenario can present itself when the document fails to account for certain situations. The most notable is when a pregnant woman has living will directives that do not account for the unborn child. It’s important to work with an experienced attorney who runs through as many possible potential hypotheticals as possible. These are some of the possible end-of-life medical treatments to consider addressing in your living will.
- Resuscitation: When the heart stops and oxygen does not feed the brain, some people opt for “do not resuscitate” rather than endure potential brain damage.
- Ventilation: When your body is being kept alive through mechanical breathing apparatus, some put time limits on how long they wish to remain in this state.
- Tube Feeding: Like mechanical ventilation, some place a limit on how long they wish to be kept alive by medical devices.
- Organ Donation: Part of the living will may include directives to donate organs and tissue to others. This often requires swift communication with the treating medical staff.
In terms of health care directives, a living will should be clear, concise and conclusive.
Contact An Experiences Florida Living Will Attorney
Creating a living will involves making a number of thoughtful decisions and the guidance of an experienced attorney can prove invaluable. If you do not have a legally-binding living will, contact Yardley Law to schedule a consultation.