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What is a Living Will and Why you Want One

What is a Living Will? 

A living will is a legal document that outlines important medical and end-of-life wishes. Should you become incapacitated, a living will defines the medical treatments you approve of and those you wish to refuse. This lifts the burden of these decisions off the shoulders of your loved ones and gives your attending physicians valuable information as to what you want your end-of-life care to be.

A Living Will should NOT be confused with your Will. A Will defines how your estate will be distributed, a living will protects you from life-prolonging procedures and define what medical treatments you approve of and those you don’t.

Why You Should Have a Living Will

When we are young, it is our parents that care for us. When we get older the dependency fades and eventually, the youth become the caregivers to the parent. This is a humbling reality, and when you face mortality, someone will be caring for you and making important decisions on your behalf. Do not wait for something to happen, protect yourself and your family now. One way to protect your choice of medical treatments or procedures is to have a living will. Here at Every & Stack we prepare for any eventuality and can draft a living will that works for you. Our attorneys are here to protect you and your legacy at every step.  

What is a Health Care Surrogate?

A healthcare surrogate is a person you designate to make all healthcare decisions during any period of incapacity. You should also designate an alternative surrogate should your original choice be unwilling or unable to perform the duties required. When you are assigning this solemn responsibility to someone make sure you have discussed your wishes with them. They should be local and available to be at your bedside in the event of a medical emergency. This is not a responsibility for the faint of heart, this is not a “people pleasing” position either. You want someone capable and willing to speak on your behalf. Something to keep in mind is that you can revoke a living will, and/or surrogate at any time. What works for you today might not five years from now.

What If I Don’t Have a Living Will?

If you do not have a living will a Health Care Proxy will be appointed. Usually, the proxy is a spouse, child, or immediate family member. If you have not discussed your final wishes this person will be making important healthcare decisions on your behalf. Our attorneys can help you with all of your end-of-life planning and will cover everything from your wishes to your estate.

What Does a Living Will Cover?

This document is reserved for end-of-life conditions, where treatments are not intended to save your life, but only to extend it. A common example of a life-prolonging procedure is cardiopulmonary resuscitation or, CPR. A more invasive treatment would be being placed on life support indefinitely.

There are three conditions covered by Living Wills:


  • Terminal Illness is a condition caused by injury or disease from which there is no reasonable medical probability of recovery and which, without treatment, can be expected to cause death.


  • A Persistent Vegetative State is a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is the absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of any kind and/or the inability to communicate or to interact purposefully with the environment.


  • An End-Stage Condition is an irreversible condition caused by injury, disease, or illness that has resulted in progressively severe and permanent deterioration and for which, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, treatment would be ineffective.


Call Every & Stack Today for Your Estate Planning Needs 

There are many overwhelming factors to think about when you are making end-of-life plans. We are here to lend our experience and knowledge, so you have peace of mind that everything is in order and your family is prepared for any event. Our commitment is to find the right solutions for you. Call us today at 386-868-4615 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Daytona Beach office.