Miami wills and trusts lawyer Randy A. Bryant has over a decade of experience assisting Florida residents in estate planning matters such as creating living wills. Establishing a living will gives clients the certainty of knowing that their preferences and wishes will be respected should something happen to them, an assurance that every individual, regardless of age, can benefit from. The Bryant Law Firm is here to help you through that process, and has the knowledge and experience to answer any legal questions you may have.Living Wills
A living will is a legal document through which an individual can state his or her wishes in regard to medical treatments that can prolong life. Living wills are often referred to as advanced directives or health care directives, and they provide guidance to family members and health care professionals in the event that you are unable to express your wishes during a medical event. A living will allows you to let loved ones know what type of life-prolonging treatments you do or do not wish to receive. Although unrelated to the distribution of money or assets, a living will is an important part of the estate administration process and should be created with the assistance of a qualified wills and trusts attorney.Florida Living Wills
Florida law provides for the creation of a living will, including suggesting the appropriate form and format for the document. In order for a living will to be effective, Florida law requires that it be signed in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom must be neither the spouse nor relative of the creator of the living will. If the creator of the living will is unable to sign it, he or she may direct a witness to sign it on his or her behalf.
Once the living will has been created, it is important to notify close family members and physicians of its existence, so that it can be referred to if needed. The living will does not become effective until you are mentally and physically incapacitated and a doctor has determined that there is a medical probability that any additional treatment you receive will only prolong your process of dying.Health Care Surrogate
In conjunction with a living will, it is also important to designate a health care surrogate. Under Florida law, a health care surrogate will be given the power to make all health care decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. The Florida legislature requires that this designation be made in writing and signed in the presence of two witnesses. A designated health care surrogate is required to make health care decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person that he or she believes the person would have made were they capable of doing so. If there is no indication of what the incapacitated person would have chosen, the health care surrogate must make a decision that is in the best interest of the individual.Making Sure Your Health Care Wishes Are Expressed
If you or a loved one have not yet created a living will or designated a health care surrogate, South Florida estate planning attorney Randy A. Bryant is here to assist you. Making decisions about end of life care can be very difficult, but it is an important part of the wills and trusts process. The Bryant Law Firm can help you explore your options and determine if your wishes have been recorded in a legally recognized manner. We provide thoughtful and caring advice to residents throughout South Florida. To schedule a free consultation to discuss living wills or any other estate planning matters, call our Coconut Grove office at 305.456.2777. You can also contact us online.