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What is a “living will” and why do you need one?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Most people in Florida who have an estate plan in place probably have a “living will” as part of that plan. So, what is a “living will”? Quite simply, it is a directive for medical professionals to follow that includes your wishes if, in a worst-case scenario, you have become medically incapacitated and are unable to express your wishes directly. The document spells out your wishes for life-saving care—should all steps be taken to keep you alive?

The common scenario presented is this: if something terrible happens and the only thing keeping you alive is a respirator and other medical devices, do you want that care to continue or is your quality of life a bigger factor? A living will helps Florida residents who want to make sure their wishes on this topic are clear.

The question “why do you need one” is a bit more difficult to answer. Some people do not like the idea of making these types of decisions because so many different factors may come into play if, in fact, such a scenario arises. Others feel it is more appropriate to delegate such decisions to trusted loved ones, believing they will know what to do if the time comes. But, if you have any thoughts at all on such a potential “end of life” scenario, you’ll likely want to include a living will in your estate plan.

Hard choices

Estate planning isn’t always about your assets and where they go when you die. A big part of the estate planning process is thinking about different scenarios and, in some cases, making hard choices about what you would want to see happen. The best thing to do if you are new to questions about estate planning is to get answers. General information is helpful, but information about your own particular family and financial situation is even better.



Photo of Jennifer D. Sharpe