Make Your Decisions Official
The best way to ensure healthcare decisions will be honored during a medical emergency is to complete a living will. A living will is a legal written or verbal statement that instructs the kind of medical treatment you do or do not want, if you are too hurt or sick to speak for yourself and unexpected to recover. It is only applied when you have reached the end stage of an illness or condition and the procedures would only prolong your natural dying. You can revise or revoke your living will at any time.
With an individual or family consultation, our certified advance care planning professionals help guide you in documenting your decisions in a written or video-recorded living will. We will also provide helpful insight as you choose a capable healthcare surrogate to speak on your behalf and carry out your wishes.
- Click here to print our healthcare surrogate/living will form in English.
- Click here to print our healthcare surrogate/living will form in Spanish.
- Click here to use our interactive tool to create your living will.
When should a living will be prepared?
When does a living will take effect?
Your living will takes effect when there is little or no chance of recovery and you can no longer communicate your medical care choices. In the state of Florida your attending or treating physician and another consulting physician must determine your condition cannot be made better before life-prolonging procedures may be withheld or withdrawn. Your requests to withhold treatments in your living will do not apply when there is reasonable chance of cure or improvement.
How do I share my living will?
Your living will should be part of your medical record. It should be readily available to your doctors and other healthcare providers. It is important to include your healthcare surrogate and your loved ones in your planning and provide them with a copy of your living will.
We recommend sharing your living will with anyone who would be at your bedside if you were ever very sick. Informing loved ones before a medical crisis can reduce conflict, stress and guilt.
How often should a living will be revised?
It is a good idea to review your living will every few years to make sure it remains current with your wishes. You may also want to check it after major life changes. Consider the five “D’s” – a death, diagnosis, divorce, decline and a decade. It is wise to discuss your plan with your primary doctor every few years or whenever you have questions.
What is a video-taped living will?
Your living will can be a video message that conveys your medical care preferences to your healthcare surrogate, physicians and loved ones. A video can be a powerful tool, especially if you are concerned that someone might try to challenge the living will you create. One of our trained staff will ask you a series of questions to help you clearly communicate the values and beliefs behind your decisions.
What are the state laws for executing living wills?
Click here to read the requirements.