A living will is a legally binding document that expresses an individual's end-of-life preferences, such as whether that person wants to be kept alive through artificial life-support apparatus. While not technically a will, states recognize the authority of living wills. Florida's living wills law explicitly states that an individual suffering from a terminal condition who is no longer able to make such lucid decisions may forego any "death-delaying procedure" if he or she has expressed this in a living will.
The main elements of Florida living will laws are highlighted in the following table. See FindLaw's Living Wills section to learn more.
||765.101, et seq. Health Care Advance Directives
|Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts
||Any medical procedure, treatment, or intervention which utilizes mechanical or other artificial means to sustain, restore, supplant a spontaneous vital function and serves only to prolong the dying process of a patient in terminal condition; does not include medication or a medical procedure to provide comfort care or to alleviate pain
|Legal Requirements for Valid Living Will
||(1) Competent; (2) adult; (3) signed by principal; (4) in presence of 2 subscribing witnesses (suggested form in 765.302) one of whom is neither a spouse nor a blood relative
|Revocation of Living Will
||Revocable at any time by principal by (1) signed, dated writing; (2) destruction of the declaration; (3) oral expression of intent to revoke; (4) subsequent advance directive materially different from the previously executed advance directive; (5) divorce revokes the designation of former spouse as surrogate. Revocation effective when properly communicated.
|Validity from State-to-State
||An advanced directive executed in another state in compliance with the laws of that state or Florida is validly executed
|If Physician Unwilling to Follow Living Will
||Physician should make reasonable efforts to transfer to a health care provider who will comply with the declaration; a physician unwilling to carry out the patient's wishes because of moral or ethical beliefs must within 7 days: (1) transfer the patient and pay the cost of transporting the patient to another health care provider or (2) carry out the wishes of the patient unless provisions of judicial intervention apply
|Immunity for Attending Physician
||Health care facility, provider or other person who acts under the direction of a health care facility, or provider is not subject to criminal prosecution or civil or professional liability for carrying out a health care decision
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Florida estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Related Resources for Florida Living Wills Laws: