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Why you should consider a Living Will

By: Anthony Cetrangelo, Jr.

With COVID-19 still lingering, it is a good time to address a sometimes forgotten or confusing estate planning document: the “Living Will”. 

What is the purpose of a “Living Will?”

Some clients are not concerned about their estates or where their assets end up after they pass away, which is why many forego putting in place their Last Will and Testament or Trust. However, most clients want a Living Will, once they understand the purpose they serve, especially since it affects them during their lifetime.

As COVID-19 has been the world’s center of attention in 2020, Living Will questions have been more prevalent, since they can control whether a ventilator is authorized for removal or not. The purpose of the Living will is to address end of life conditions. Florida statute says that a Living Will applies under the three scenarios:

  • persistent vegetative state;
  • end-stage conditions; and,
  • terminal illnesses.

The Living Will helps your medical care providers, family members, or friends understand your intentions and wishes if any of these end of life conditions occur.

Having a valid Living Will, with your medical wishes listed out and executed with your estate planning attorney, takes away the guilt family members may have if you do not have a Living Will and they must make the decision to terminate life-sustaining treatments for you due to an end of life condition.

Additionally, the Living Will can act on its own accord, but the Designation of Health Care Surrogate routinely will coincide with it. Make sure that you know where your medical directives are located. It is also a good idea to have a digital version of them in case the health care provider or institution misplaces copies that may have had on record. This enables you to directly email it to them immediately, instead of having to locate physical copies.

Dr. Teet, owner of Dial the Dr, LLC, shares

“you should never underestimate the importance of a Living Will. Through my years of experience dealing with patients and patient’s families, unseen medical issues and end-of-life care are the most difficult to deal with. When a patient does not have a Living Will and can no longer make medical decisions, this can place an enormous financial as well as emotional burden on family members. Having this clarified before any unforeseen medical issues arise is the most important document a person can have to empower themselves with this difficult decision-making process and alleviate their love ones from the tough decision. Having a smart and experienced attorney, to help you through the process is an asset.”

Those interested in having a Living Will or other estate planning documents prepared may contact Anthony Cetrangelo at Anthony.Cetrangelo@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1358.