Living Wills

Living Will Attorneys Serving Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice.

Working with the attorneys at Steiner Law Offices to create your living will helps your loved ones more easily make critical decisions and relieve stress during difficult times.  Many legal battles, such as the case involving Terri Schiavo, which originated right here in Florida, have played out in the media showing how long and costly it is to keep loved ones alive using medical treatments.  A living will helps prevent such battles and allows clients to document their own wishes regarding medical treatments at the end of their lives.

A living will should not be confused with a Last Will and Testament (aka Will).  Wills, among other things, provide instructions for distributing your assets.  Living wills, on the other hand, are documents that allow you to provide loved ones and physicians instructions for your critical end-of-life decisions.  Living wills are a significant tool when determining whether to provide specific medical treatments to an incapacitated individual when such treatments would artificially prolong the process of dying.  Everyone should have a living will as part of their overall estate plan.

Living Wills

Key Provisions of Living Wills

Living wills may contain the following key provisions:

  • Gives you the option to name the person in charge of carrying out your wishes
  • Describes what specific medical treatment you desire to have if you are unable to act for yourself
  • Provides your instructions to physicians in charge of your care
  • Declarations that direct the providing, withholding, or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures in the event that you have a terminal condition, an end-stage condition, or are in a persistent vegetative state

Benefits of Living Wills

  • You can refuse treatment that you do not want
  • You will know the outcomes of your medical treatment
  • Prevent arguments among family members
  • Make decisions easier for your family
  • Reduce your loved ones stress during a difficult time
  • Ensure doctors will follow your wishes
  • Authorize treatments you may want
  • Minimize potential financial problems for your family

Limitations of Living Wills

  • A living will is a specialized document expressing your wishes for end-of-life medical treatment
  • Does not provide your loved ones authority to make your financial or healthcare decisions
  • Does not address the distribution of your assets
  • Does not help you avoid probate
  • Does not help you avoid estate taxes
  • Does not address guardianship of your minor or special needs children

Validity/Effectiveness of Living Wills

Care must be taken in order to ensure the validity of your living will.  If not, the court may ignore all or parts of your living will.  Some reasons for invalid living wills include:

  • Not properly witnessed
  • Incapacity of the person making the living will
  • Not notifying your primary care physician of your living will
  • Not notifying your loved ones of your living will

Living Wills Should be Part of Overall Plan

The limitations discussed above do not mean you forego having a living will.  Instead, you need to have a living will that can provide the benefits and key provisions living wills allow for AND additional documents that address the limitations of wills.  Such additional documents include the following:

  • Trusts (revocable and/or irrevocable)
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Health Care Surrogate

Contact Steiner Law Offices today for help with living wills – Get started now

Contact us for personal and professional help with Living Wills. We offer this to clients in Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice, Florida, including Sarasota County and Manatee County.