No one likes to think that they may be unable to make medical decisions for themselves, but it is important to plan for if or when that time comes. An advanced healthcare directive, sometimes called a living will, is a legal document that allows people in Florida to outline their healthcare wishes and appoint a trusted person to act on their behalf.
To create an advanced healthcare directive, the drafter must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. This means that they understand that they are giving another person the right to make choices in their best interest. The directive can specify which medical treatments they do or do not want to receive.
It’s important for the drafter to choose a trusted person to act as their agent under the healthcare directive. The agent has important responsibilities, including some that could result in life or death.
For example, if the drafter has a terminal condition or cannot express their wishes, the healthcare directive can inform their agent whether to choose resuscitation, feeding tubes or a ventilator or whether to withhold life-sustaining treatment.
The healthcare directive also provides guidance to healthcare providers.
Signatures and witnesses
The directive must be in writing, and it must be signed by two witnesses. The witnesses must be adults and they cannot be related to the drafter by blood or marriage. The drafter can also choose to have the directive notarized.
It’s helpful for the drafter to make copies of the directive for the agent, as well as their physician and any healthcare facilities they visit regularly.
It’s important to periodically review and update the directive, as well as inform loved ones of any changes.