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Florida standard living will form can harm your quality of life

Florida standard living will form can harm your quality of life

A living will is your opportunity to give clear direction to your healthcare providers and a healthcare surrogate who makes decisions for you about your medical care when you are not competent. It is not a will that disposes of your property and assets.

The Florida legislature created a statute, section 765.303 Florida Statutes, that contains a standard form living will. Many people sign the standard form without careful thought. People sign the form and think they have completed all the planning they need to do. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Without clear direction from you, there are many circumstances in which your health-care providers may provide care much differently than you want. Here are three examples:

First, do you want your healthcare providers to have the ability to withhold both nutrition and hydration, and if so under what circumstances?

Second, do you want your health care surrogate to be able to authorize “experimental” procedures? What one person considers “experimental” may be different from another. For instance, health insurance companies frequently deny payment of a claim for procedures they consider “experimental.” You may want a specific treatment to keep you alive even if it is “experimental.”

Third, do you want a feeding tube, and if so under what circumstances?

These are the kinds of decisions you should make before you are sick and while you are mentally capable. Unfortunately, just signing the standard form has the effect of encouraging people to think they have done enough planning when they have not. Therefore, it could be very harmful to your future quality of life.

For more information on related health care topics see our nursing and medical malpractice section and our FAQ section.

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