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Who Needs to Know About Your Living Will?

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Some things are better left unknown for those who were not involved.  That saying does not ring true for estate planning. In Florida, if you have decided to prepare for your passing and plan to have a living will drafted, who should know?

A living will is pointless if no one knows that it exists. You should be proud of yourself for not procrastinating and properly planning. However, if the appropriate parties are unaware of the existence of the living will, it’s just as good as never being drafted at all.

In order for loved ones and physicians to know your decisions concerning medical treatments in South Florida you will need to follow these 5 steps to create an effective living will.

A living will is pointless if no one knows that it exists.

(1)Appoint a health care agent: Appoint someone as your healthcare agent with a durable power of attorney known as a Designation of Health Care Surrogate.  Your agent will have the legal authority to make health care decisions for you if you are no longer able to speak for yourself.

(2) Attach a signed HIPAA release form: You must provide your health care provider with a signed HIPAA release form so that he can discuss your medical information with your agent. It is suggested to provide a release form to all of your physicians and insurance carrier.

(3) Draft Instructions for health care:  Write instructions for your future health care outlining your wishes about life sustaining medical treatment in the event you can no longer speak for yourself. Your agent will be dictated to implement your written instructions.

(4) Revise: Written instructions must be absolutely clear to be enforceable.  Your written instructions must clearly answer the question about life-sustaining care.

(5) Notify your attending physician: Once your living will is drafted, it’s your responsibility to notify your physician that you have one. It is also important to discuss your health care desires with your physician. He or she is likely to honor requests that have been communicated to him or her directly.

Take charge of your last living decisions and plan ahead! An experienced South Florida estate-planning attorney will help ensure that the actual instructions for your wishes are stated accurately. For more information on successful Florida estate planning, please contact The Hershey Law Firm PA at (954) 303-9468 to schedule your free consultation.