Drafting and Updating Living Wills in Florida

What is the Difference Between a Living Will and Will in Florida?

Several estate planning tools exist; sometimes, differentiating among them can be confusing. This can be the case where tools share similar names, such as Wills and Living Wills. To ensure you use the tool that best serves your estate planning goals and needs, consult experienced legal experts from a reputable law firm in Florida.

They can discuss the basics of each type of estate planning document and how to ensure they are enforceable. They can also answer your questions, such as how to update a Living Will.


A Will is a written document outlining how you would want your assets to be distributed after your death. When executed correctly, a Will can prevent the court from distributing your assets according to state formulas instead of what you want.

You can also include provisions for the guardianship of your minor children in case you and your spouse die or become incapacitated before the children are adults. Estate planning attorneys in Florida explain that the law requires each spouse in a marriage to have their own Will.

Living Will

A Living Will expresses your wishes for or against heroic medical interventions if you cannot make medical decisions due to incapacitation. For example, you can indicate that you don't want to be put on life support if there is no hope for recovery, which can save your family from massive medical bills.

In most cases, Florida estate planning lawyers draft Living Wills simultaneously as Wills and other end-of-life documents such as a healthcare Power of Attorney. The law dictates that a Living Will must be signed by two witnesses, one of whom should not be a spouse or relative, but it doesn't need to be notarized.

A Will designates asset distribution and has no bearing on your healthcare decisions. It takes effect after your death, but a Living Will enables you to maintain control over your healthcare wishes when you become incapacitated.

What Should I Consider When Drafting a Living Will?

A Living Will clarifies your healthcare intentions if you become incapacitated and are unable to tell your family or doctors what you want done. Without a Living Will, the people around you may experience prolonged, expensive, painful, and emotionally draining healthcare decisions.

The document takes the responsibility off their shoulders, saving them from a lifetime of guilt about whether or not they made the right decision. It also gives you peace of mind, knowing that your medical decisions will be executed as you desire, even when you can't express them.

What to Include in a Living Will

When drafting a Living Will, you should appoint someone as your proxy. Choose someone you will be comfortable talking to about your wishes and one you can trust to carry them out. Some situations for which you may want to give instructions on what you expect to be done are:

  • If in a coma

  • If you can no longer live without being hooked up to machines

  • If you lose the ability to recognize your loved ones, for example, if you get dementia

  • If you're unable to take care of yourself

Florida estate planning lawyers highlight that you could also include instructions for organ donation or include a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order. Consult extensively with your family, medical practitioners, and lawyers on the impact of the instructions you give in your Living Will before making a decision.

When Should I Update My Living Will?

Florida Statute 765.104 stipulates that a principal can amend, cancel, or change a Living Will at any time if they are mentally capable. Changes to a Living Will should be in writing, signed by the principal, and dated. It's also recommended to destroy the previously canceled Living Will to avoid confusion during execution.

Not updating your Will can have serious consequences, leading to the implementation of some medical decisions you probably changed your mind about but forgot to update. Experienced estate planning attorneys can help you update your Last Will to reflect your life changes while ensuring the new document is enforceable.

Using a Codicil to Update Your Living Will

A codicil is a legally recognized document that refers to the original Will and undergoes the same execution process as the original one. Once you execute a codicil, you can make minor changes to the original document or add new instructions. The process is appropriate when the changes are simple, or you wish to modify specific parts of the Will.

In some cases, re-executing the entire Will may be more appropriate than using a codicil. A re-executed Will supersedes the previous one, and this approach is advisable if you need to make numerous substantial changes, the Will is outdated or complex, or you want to ensure clarity. An attorney can assess your needs and advise you on when using a codicil is best.

A Skilled Estate Planning Lawyer Helping You Draft and Update Your Living Will

A Living Will is a crucial estate planning document expressing your healthcare wishes if you become incapacitated or reach your end of life. When drafting it, it's advisable to seek the counsel and guidance of qualified estate planning attorneys in Florida to ensure its legality and validity.

The Dellutri Law Group, PA, is a reputable law firm in Florida with knowledgeable and experienced estate planning lawyers who can guide you in your estate planning needs. We are focused on helping our clients and won't stop at anything while fighting for the future they deserve. Whatever your estate planning needs or goals are, we are here to help. Call us at 800-391-4337 to schedule a complimentary session.