Living Wills in Florida

Sarasota Attorneys Draft Your Living Will For End-of-Life Care Directions

A Living Will is similar to a Health Care Surrogate but specifically applies only to end-of-life care if you have an end-stage condition, have a terminal disease or are in a persistent vegetative state from which there is no expectation that you will ever recover. You determine, in advance, in your Living Will, what treatment you want when faced with any of these diagnoses.

Your Living Will is a written document where you specifically instruct your surrogate whether you want all available and possible treatment provided or whether you want no extraordinary measures taken to prolong your life. The person you name to make these decisions for you is called a surrogate and is often the same person you have named as your Health Care Surrogate.

Florida law specifically defines the requirements of a Living Will in order for it to be valid and binding on your surrogate. It also has criteria your physician must follow in order for your wishes to be carried out. Call us at our Wills, Trusts, Probate and Elder Law Firm, PLLC in Sarasota, Florida to prepare your Living Will.


Living Wills are governed by Chapter 765 of the Florida Statutes. More specifically, Sections 765.301 – 309, which are more formally known as the “Life-Prolonging Procedure Act of Florida”.

What is a Living Will?
Simply put, a living will is a legal document where you make a written declaration and direct the providing, withholding, or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures in the event you have a terminal condition, and end stage condition, or are in a persistent vegetative state.
What is a “principal”?
You, the person creating/signing the document are called the “principal”.
What is a “surrogate”?
The person the principal designates to carry out the declaration and directions for them is called the “surrogate”. This will likely be the same person you have named in the Health Care Surrogate document.
When can a Living Will be used?
Before proceeding in accordance with the principal’s living will, it must be determined that:

(a) The principal does not have a reasonable medical probability of recovering capacity so that the right could be exercised directly by the principal.

(b) The principal has a terminal condition, has an end-stage condition, or is in a persistent vegetative state.

(c) Any limitations or conditions expressed orally or in a written declaration have been carefully considered and satisfied.

In determining whether the patient has a terminal condition, has an end-stage condition, or is in a persistent vegetative state or may recover capacity, or whether a medical condition or limitation referred to in an advance directive exists, the patient’s attending or treating physician and at least one other consulting physician must separately examine the patient. The findings of each such examination must be documented in the patient’s medical record and signed by each examining physician before life-prolonging procedures may be withheld or withdrawn.

Can the Living Will be used for “assisted suicide”?
  1. Nothing in Chapter 765 shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.

Please be advised that according to Florida Statute Section 782.08, titled “Assisting self-murder”, every person deliberately helping another in the commission of self-murder shall be guilty of manslaughter, a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

The material above represents general legal advice. Since the law is continually changing, some provisions may, or may not apply to you. Some provisions may have exceptions you need to be aware of. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.

Please contact us to discuss any specific situation or needs you may have to see how we may be able to assist in reaching a resolution. We offer a free thirty (30) minute consultation to see if we can help.