Most people in Florida may have heard of living wills, but they may be uncertain what the term means or whether it should be part of their estate plan. Essentially, a living will is used in order to allow makers to plan the type of care they wish to receive in the event they are incapacitated and no longer able to make decisions for themselves.

A living will allows the individual to decide in advance what types of medical care and treatment they are willing to receive. In today’s world, scientific and medical advancements have allowed lives to be prolonged with numerous types of life-prolonging and life-sustaining treatments. Not everyone wants to avail themselves of such treatments, preferring instead to set contingencies under which those treatments should be withheld.

If a person becomes incapacitated and does not have a living will, other people will make the decisions on his or her behalf regardless of the person’s wishes. With a living will, the individual can create a legal document that allows a designated proxy to make treatment and health care decisions in the event of a medical catastrophe or illness. Accordingly, it is important for the person who is making a living will to be careful to select an individual that will both be able and willing to enforce the treatment and care decisions outlined therein.

People who have questions or who are considering writing a living will may wish to discuss it with their estate planning attorney. As each state has specific requirements as to what a living will can and cannot contain, it is important that the document is prepared correctly.