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Jax Daily Record Friday, Jan. 30, 200412:00 PM EST

Lawyers, doctors promoting Living Wills


The Florida Bar and the Florida Medical Association have agreed to conduct a public service campaign to encourage Floridians about the benefits of preparing Living Wills and to designate Health Care Surrogates.

The effort was announced by Bar President-elect Kelly Overstreet Johnson and Florida Medical Association President Carl W. “Rick” Lentz, M.D.

A Living Will is a document that gives instructions or expresses an individual’s desire concerning any aspect of his or her future health care treatment. A Health Care Surrogate is a person designated to make health care decisions if the individual becomes unable to do so. A Living Will should not be confused with a person’s legal will which disposes of personal property on or after his or her death, and appoints a personal representative or revokes or revises another will.

The lawyers’ and physicians’ groups are making statutory Living Will and Health Care Surrogate forms available to their members from their respective Web sites. Members are being asked to duplicate these forms and important information on Living Wills and Health Care Advance Directives to make available to all who visit their offices.

The forms and information are also available to the general public at either or

Additionally, The Florida Bar Speakers Bureau has recruited members of its Elder Law, Health Law and Real Property, Probate and Trust Law sections to volunteer as speakers to address civic and community organizations throughout the state on Living Wills and other end of life issues. Groups who would like to have a speaker should call the Bar and speak with Gail Grimes at 1-800-342-8060, Ext. 5767.

The Florida Bar and the Florida Medical Association are working together on this project in an effort to maintain their traditions of serving the public interest.

In order to make the provided documents valid, they must be signed and witnessed. There is no need to involve a physician or retain a lawyer, unless personally desired.

“Physicians and lawyers are available if consumers have questions regarding their personal situations,” Johnson and Lentz said.

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