When talking about estate planning, many people think the last will is everything they need to have. However, it is not true, as there are other valuable legal tools to preserve one’s estate and ensure a smooth distribution to beneficiaries.
Ultimately, creating a well-thought-out estate plan is not an easy task, which may cause some people to avoid it. Yet, it is a crucial step to guarantee peace of mind to loved ones and friends upon death.
In this article, you will discover the fundamental documents that should be included in a Florida estate plan.
What Should be Included in an Estate Plan in Florida? – The Essentials
Last Will and Testament
Primarily, it is crucial to begin by drafting a thorough last will and testament. Regardless of individual wealth or financial status, writing a last will is the first step in any estate plan.
An adequate last will permits one to decide who will receive his/her assets upon death, as well as appointing a legal guarding for minor children (if necessary). Still, as crucial as it may be, a last will only dictates what happens to someone’s property upon death.
Considering the limited scope of this tool, a good estate plan must involve other complementary tools (especially in case of incapacitation or disability).
Power of Attorney
Commonly used in cases involving elderly or disabled individuals, a power of attorney is a legal authorization that grants a designated person the power to act on someone else’s behalf.
Under this type of agreement, the designated person is referred to as an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact,” while the person authorizing the arrangement is referred to as the “principal.”
Each situation is different, so different agents may be given distinct levels of authority to make decisions on the principal’s behalf. Typically, the main categories are health care power of attorney and financial power of attorney.
A health care power of attorney is used to designate a trusted person to make decisions on the principal’s behalf if he/she becomes incapacitated. Considering it involves delicate decisions, people considering it should seek guidance from an expert lawyer.
On the other hand, a financial power of attorney serves to designate an agent to handle finance-related matters on the principal’s behalf. It includes accessing bank accounts, buying or selling property, and paying bills.
Unlike health care powers of attorney, a financial power of attorney is signed into effect regardless of whether the principal becomes incapacitated. Typically, it is used by adult children to preserve the estate of elderly parents.
Commonly, estate plans involving a health care power of attorney should include a living will. Also referred to as a “healthcare directive,” this document provides a set of instructions regarding the principal’s medical care in case of incapacitation.
When the principal becomes terminally ill or incapacitated to the point he/she cannot decide on their own, a living will provides the directives on what should be done. The provisions must be precise, as they include instructions for:
- Removal of life support
- Lifesaving measures (e.g., resuscitation)
- Blood transfusion
- Hydration/nutrition in case of severe incapacitation (e.g., brain death)
Any decision associated with end-of-life care must be done precisely, so make sure to sit down with an expert estate planning attorney before signing anything.
What Should be Included in an Estate Plan in Florida? – Work with an Expert Attorney to Structure Yours
Undoubtedly, a comprehensive estate plan may need more than these tools, such as trusts, POD/TOD accounts, 401(k) retirement savings, and others.
As it is plain to see, the best approach is to have your case assessed by an expert lawyer to customize an estate plan to your circumstances. Waste no time – call Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or email Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.