Many health problems and concerns – which came to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic – are related to how to meet the medical needs of people who are so severely affected that they are no longer able to make treatment decisions.
There is some confusion among Americans and foreigners living here about the mechanism by which such decisions can be communicated in advance or through someone else when the time comes.
Initially, the source of confusion is the name given to the act by which the person provides this communication. In Florida, but also elsewhere in the United States, this act is often referred to as “Living Will,” which resembles a common or typical will used to denote a succession of property. This is because the word “will” in English indicates the term (last) will. However, even in French, such an act is sometimes referred to as the “last will”, as a classical will. In France, public health law describes the expression of the will of patients refusing treatment and patients at the end of life.
According to French terminology, we can say that “Living Will” is a preliminary directive if its signatory is one day unable to express its will. These preliminary guidelines express a person’s end-of-life will regarding the conditions for continuing, restricting, terminating or refusing treatment or medical procedures.
In Florida, “living will” is the expression of a competent adult. It is signed by the principal expressing his will, in the presence of two witnesses. Witnesses may not be a spouse or a person related to the signatory.
It is clear that the content presupposes preliminary guidelines which, in the event of a serious illness or accident, make it possible to express the wishes at the end of life of those who apply to them, in particular to limit or terminate ongoing treatment, even if this leads to natural death, except for relief from suffering.
The Florida law proposes a model statement in advance that allows for the appointment of a patient replacement who will then be empowered to make decisions when the patient is unable to act, speak, or “write.”
It often happens that a person who forms a classical will wishes to be accompanied by a “living will,” as well as the so-called “permanent” power of attorney, which remains valid if the principal finds that he is ineligible.
If you have any questions about the Living Will concept or would like to have a guide in advance to help physicians decide on the care they will receive, call Maître David S. WILLIG at 305-860-1881.
David S. Willig
2837 SW 3rd Ave, Miami, FL 33129 – www.floridavocat.com
Phone: +1 (305) 860-1881 [email protected]
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