Estate Planning-Wills, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Medical Surrogate and Preneed Guardianships

Estate planning is the process of planning for the distribution of your tangible and intangible property upon death, and should also include planning for your potential incapacity.  No matter what your net worth, it is important to have an estate plan in place to be certain that your family is provided for in the event of your death or incapacity.  At our office, we will first guide you in identifying your assets now and in the near future, and then prepare a Last Will & Testament that will dispose of those assets according to your desire. 

Our estate plans include a Will or Testamentary Trust, Durable Power of Attorney, HIPAA Release and the Designation of a Medical Surrogate.  The Durable Power of Attorney and Designation of a Medical Surrogate allow someone you appoint to make financial and medical decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.  Some people also wish to create Living Wills, which state their wishes regarding life-sustaining medical treatments during end-of-life situations.
          

Many individuals are under the misconception that Estate Planning is unnecessary when there is a living spouse as they will “automatically inherit” all of the couples assets.  In some cases, that may not be the decedent’s intent, nor in the best interest of the surviving spouse.  Also, as seen in our practice there is blended families that require clear directives be left behind to ensure that every family member old and new understand and receive the percentages intended for each heir.  There is also that unfortunate event when both spouses die simultaneously in an accident, leaving minor children behind who have not reached the age of majority to inherit certain properties.

 

Preneed Guardianships allow an individual to designate who they wish to be named as their Ward, or caregiver of their property, and person.  This document is specially compelling when you have a history of Alzheimer in the family.  It is paramount to have these documents drafted well before a diagnosis.  This document is also important when you have minor children as it gives the parent the peace of mind that they have chosen their minor children's guardian in case of an untimely death or incapacity whether permanent or temporary.

As if the above scenarios weren’t compelling, the State of Florida has specific requirements for the preparation of testamentary documents, and it is paramount that you have an attorney draft these documents for you to ensure your intent is properly communicated.