The Living Will

The State of Florida recognizes that every competent adult has the fundamental right of self-determination regarding the right to choose or refuse medical treatment or procedures that would only prolong life when a terminal illness or condition exists.

A Living Will is the legal document that allows a competent adult to set forth a personal, written declaration providing for the withholding or withdrawal of life prolonging procedures in the event of a terminal condition. A Living Will also allows the maker to specifically designate the individual or individuals who have the authority to carry out the maker’s desires regarding the withholding or withdrawal of life prolonging procedures. The definition of “life prolonging procedures” includes the provision of food and water to terminally ill patients.

Under Florida law, a Living Will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, at least one of whom is neither the spouse nor a blood relative of the maker.

At Allender & Allender, we recommend that the Living Will also be signed in the presence of a Notary Public. If the maker is physically unable to sign the Living Will, however, one of the witnesses can sign in the presence and at the direction of the maker.