Attorneys in Orlando, Florida, Assist with Living Wills
Drafting sensitive documents that ensure your wishes are upheld
When planning for one’s legacy, the average person contemplates how to distribute his or her assets in the most efficient manner. As a result, estate planning strategies often focus on drafting wills and trusts instead of preparing a living will or choosing a healthcare surrogate. However, at Gierach and Gierach, P.A., we insist on looking at all the real-world decisions affecting our clients. We are real people doing business for real people. John Gierach carries on a legacy of experience from his father, who established the firm in 1986, and understands that sensitive end-of-life planning is at least as important as planning for what happens to one's property after death.
Living wills are a type of advance directive, a written declaration of what medical care you wish to receive if you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of advance directives: a living will and the designation of a healthcare surrogate. A healthcare proxy is another estate planning tool that operates similarly to an advance directive.
Drafting living wills in central Florida
A living will is a formal declaration to doctors, other medical professionals and family members about the use of feeding tubes, respirators and other life-prolonging procedures in the event that you have a terminal condition or become incapacitated.
These steps should be followed when creating a living will:
- The principal must sign the Florida living will in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom is not a blood relative.
- The principal needs to notify his attending physician of the existence of the living will. If the principal is already incapacitated, a family member may provide a copy of the living will to the treating physician.
When an attorney from Gierach and Gierach, P.A. drafts a valid living will according to statute, a rebuttable presumption of clear and convincing evidence of the principal’s wishes is created.
Florida law states that if a person executed a Florida living will but did not appoint a surrogate to carry out his or her wishes, the treating physician may proceed as directed by the principal named in the living will.
Healthcare surrogates in Florida
The designation of a healthcare surrogate is a legal declaration appointing a person, the surrogate, to make medical decisions for another when that person is unable to make them. The surrogate possesses authority to consult with doctors and give consent for medical procedures that the surrogate believes the principal would have agreed to under the circumstances.
When drafting a designation of healthcare surrogate according to Florida law, it is important to note that:
- The principal should sign the healthcare surrogate in front of two witnesses who are not blood relatives of the principal. In addition, the person designated as the surrogate cannot be one of the witnesses.
- The principal may appoint an alternate surrogate if the original is not able to fulfill his or her duties.
- Where the surrogate and alternate are unable or unwilling to fulfill their responsibilities, the healthcare facility may seek a proxy pursuant to statute.
- The principal may designate a separate surrogate for mental health treatment.
- The appointment of a healthcare surrogate remains in effect until revoked by the principal if there is no designated time restriction.
Executing a healthcare surrogate according to statute establishes a rebuttable presumption of clear and convincing evidence of your wishes.
Call Florida attorneys with a legacy of experience drafting living wills
For legal help from an experienced living wills and healthcare surrogate lawyer in Orlando, call Gierach and Gierach, P.A. at 407-545-5744 or (844) 431-0813, or contact us online today to schedule your free initial consultation. We also help people from other states needing legal assistance in Florida.