In Tampa, Florida a living will, also known as a "healthcare directive" is a document which lays out directions for your family and your doctor regarding healthcare matters should you become so ill that you are unable to make or express such decisions.
This can be very helpful in avoiding disagreements between family members who otherwise might not know what your wishes on this subject are.
For instance, many people state that they would not want to be kept alive by artificial means if they are in a vegetative state, and have no decent chance of recovering. Others, however, would like to be kept alive if they have any chance, no matter how small, of recovery. If your wishes on this matter aren't known, your doctor or family members might have no idea what you would have wanted, and may make a determination that goes against your wishes.
Also, individual family members may not agree on what the patient would have wanted. Disagreements on this subject can be profound, and can cause irreversible damage to family relationships. But if the patient's wishes are made clear in advance, these fights can usually be avoided.
How to Create A Living Will in Tampa, Florida
Before taking any steps to formulate a living will, you should make your wishes known to your family. While it's ultimately your decision (and your family will probably recognize that), they will likely appreciate having their opinions heard. Also, implementing a living will can be much easier if the family already knows what it says, with the document simply making it legally-binding.
You should then go about drafting the will. This should almost always be done with the guidance of a Tampa, Florida attorney who specializes in these matters.
In most states, a living will must follow all the formalities as testamentary wills (wills that dictate what is to be done with a person's property after their death).
While these formalities vary by state, there are a few elements that are quite typical. For example, in most states, wills have to be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who have no direct share in it. It's also critical to avoid any disputes or confusion as to whether or not a particular document was intended to be a will. A clear statement to that effect should be the first paragraph in any type of will.
Do I Need A Tampa, Florida Living Will Attorney?
While not strictly necessary, a reputable estate-planning lawyer in Tampa, Florida can be extremely helpful in the process of drafting a living will. An attorney will know the intricacies of local law, and will help you draft a document that, to the extent possible, will ensure that your wishes with respect to your own healthcare are followed.