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Living Will Law

Living wills are legal documents that provide specific details pertaining to your end of life wishes. Living wills also provide legal directives regarding your health care while you are still alive. In the event a person is unable to speak for themselves, a living will can provide an outline in hospital care such as life support. A hospital representative will discuss certain decisions about the person's care regardless of a living will so it is imperative that the person chosen to enforce the wishes be selected carefully. Take a look at the more commonly asked questions regarding living wills that have been answered by Experts.

What is the difference between a living will and a living trust?

The difference between a living will and a living trust is; a living will is a legal document that allows a person to address his/her end of life decisions. The living will addresses issues regarding your health care in the event you are unable to speak for yourself. The assistance of an attorney is not required to prepare a living will. Of course, it is common practice for many people to use an attorney.

A living trust directs focus towards a person's estate and how that person wants the estate to be handled and/or divided. There is nothing regarding a person's health care addressed in a living trust. Another difference between a living will and a living trust is you will require an attorney to draft a living trust where in most cases an attorney isn't required for a living will.

Is a Living Will all that is needed in Florida? Can one be prepared by the individual, then notarized before two witnesses?

You can check the Florida Senate's website for more insight on Florida's requirements and you should be able to get the forms on the site. However, it would probably be best to have your living will and also have a Designation of Health Care Surrogate which will deal with any medical decisions that arise in the event you are unable to speak for yourself.

Florida requires that you have two witnesses and the signatures of the witnesses before a living will to be valid. A self-proving will requires a notary to be present when you sign as well as the witnesses would have to sign documents that specify how the will was signed.

Can you protest a living will once a person passes away if the person was highly medicated at the time the will was drawn up?

There are certain circumstances that make it possible to contest a living will. If the will is fraudulent, coerced, forged, brought about by encouragement or excessive influence, mistaken, or prepared by someone who is mentally incapacitated at the time, the will can be challenged. You will have to wait until the will is probated to proceed. Once the will has been probated, you can file for a "will contest". This is a form of law suit that challenges the authenticity of the will.

Anyone who would be affected in a negative way by the will in question can challenge the will. If the person prepared the living will was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there could be an argument of coercion or undue influence.

When a person challenges a will, the expenses are the challenger's burden while the estate can use funds from the estate to contest the challenge.

My boyfriend told his sister and me that he didn't want his mother to make any decisions concerning his healthcare. After an accident, my boyfriend is unable to speak and has no living will, what can I do?

There appears to be only on solution to your current situation. You or your boyfriend's sister will have to go through the court and try to gain guardianship. You may have issues concerning the mother wanting to be in control of her son's healthcare. By requesting guardianship, you can express the boyfriend's wishes to the judge and let the judge make the decision. If you or the sister is granted guardianship, you will be able to better control what decisions are made concerning the care of your boyfriend and limiting the mother's involvement. Gaining guardianship over the mother will be a daunting task and you will need the hire an attorney to handle the legal aspects of the proceedings.

Having a living will affords a person the ability to command how their health care is handled in the event he/she is unable to speak on their own behalf. Without a living will, you are left at the mercy of family or hospital personnel to determine your healthcare. If you have questions about a living will, you should ask an Expert for assistance in making the right choices for your individual needs.
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