Top Three Florida Estate Planning Documents
Estate planning can seem like an overwhelming and unpleasant endeavor. No one wants to think about death; it is much more pleasant to imagine we will live forever and hope the details will just sort themselves out. However, it can actually be a huge relief to get your affairs in order. With the help of an attorney, many people find it is not nearly as cumbersome a process as they thought.
Part of the problem is that for many people, “estate planning” can seem like a somewhat vague and daunting process reserved for the wealthy. However, estate planning is really just a term to describe the process of dictating your wishes, both for your assets and for yourself. Breaking the concept of estate planning into some of its most basic and non-threatening parts (documents) can help it seem far more accessible, and can give people a starting point. While the information below is intended to provide a general overview, the experienced estate planning attorneys at the SG Firm can provide a personalized consultation, based on your unique facts and circumstances, in order to help determine the best comprehensive estate plan for you.
Key Florida Estate Planning Documents
- A Valid will. A last will and testament outlines your wishes for your assets and property after your death. Will laws are fairly complex, and the best way to ensure that your will is valid is to work with a lawyer to draft it.
- Advance Healthcare Directive. An advance healthcare directive has become particularly important given the uncertainty and risk of a global pandemic. This directive becomes relevant if you become incapacitated and are unable to make your own medical decisions. It generally consists of two documents, a Florida living will and a designation of a healthcare surrogate. A living will outlines any preferences you have for treatment, to make sure that your wishes are honored in the event that you are not able to articulate them yourself. For example, if your religious beliefs prevent you from getting blood transfusions, that is something you would include in your living will. In addition, you can appoint a healthcare surrogate whom you trust to make decisions that are in your best interest.
- Durable Power of Attorney. A durable power of attorney gives another person authority to act on your behalf. Like a general power of attorney, a durable power of attorney goes into effect as soon as it is signed. However, a durable power of attorney remains in effect even when the principal becomes incapacitated (whereas a general power of attorney would be terminated at this point). A durable power of attorney can be drafted as narrowly as desired, or reserved for specific tasks, such as paying bills, making medical decisions on your behalf, or performing necessary business functions.
Schedule a Consultation With the SG Firm
If you would like to get your affairs in order and develop a comprehensive estate plan that meets your needs and protects your wishes, schedule a consultation with the SG Firm today.