The Benefits of Planning
We don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future. So why not be proactive and create the future you deserve? Give yourself the gift of peace of mind by working with me to create an estate plan to help you achieve your goals.
As life expectancies increase, more people are interested in creating a management plan for their financial and health care needs while they age as well as an estate plan. My staff and I are devoted to educating and counseling clients about their legal rights and planning options so they can make the best-informed decision. When you meet with me, I will listen to what is important to you so we co-create a legal plan to meet your goals which may include:
- Maintaining privacy and dignity
- Maintaining independence and control over personal healthcare decisions and financial affairs
- Minimizing federal estate taxes and expenses associated with probating an estate
- Avoiding guardianship which can be costly and is monitored by the Court
- Determining who is best to serve as a pre-need guardian for a minor child or loved ones with special needs.
Click here for estate planning options for minors.
Don’t attempt to create legal documents yourself using the internet or a stationary store form. Not only will these documents not be tailored to meet your needs (you won’t be able to converse and talk about your finances and unique issues in your family or life) you may unintentionally not properly have them signed, witnessed or notarized which would result in a very expensive mistake. If you are incapacitated when the mistake is discovered it can be too late to have correct documents prepared and you may incur the cost of a guardianship. Invest in your future by doing it correctly the first time – get competent, qualified legal advice.
To prepare for our meeting together you may wish to read about the following legal documents that can be tailored to meet your needs so that you can achieve your planning goals:
Durable Power of Attorney
You can designate a trusted person to handle your financial affairs if you are unable to make decisions due to a temporary or permanent incapacity. You also designate an alternate financial decision-maker. The document provides detailed instruction about the agent's authority. Durable Powers of Attorney created after October, 2011 are effective immediately. As a result of Florida law changing in 2011 it requires this document to identify specific high levels of financial decision-making and the client must sign or initial next to each of these paragraphs to indicate whether the client is delegating or not delegating that type of authority.
Designation of Healthcare Surrogate
You can designate a trusted person to make medical and residential decisions for you in the event you cannot communicate or, are incapacitated. You also designate a successor medical agent.
Last Will & Testament
This document identifies who will inherit an individual's assets (the beneficiaries) and who will be responsible for distributing them to the beneficiaries (the personal representative/executor). For young parents and couples, a Will can also be used to appoint a trustee to manage a child's money in a trust until he/she is old enough to handle it themselves.
A living will declares your wishes concerning the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures if you are diagnosed with a terminal condition where there is no medical probability of recovery or, cure. Click here to download your Living Will Guide.
Designation of Healthcare Surrogate for a Minor
If you are the parent of a minor age child it is a good idea to designate a healthcare surrogate to make the child’s medical decisions in the event you are unavailable (i.e. traveling). This makes it easier for the person that may be caring for your child while you are away to make medical decisions.
Declaration of Preneed Guardian for an Adult
A competent adult can appoint a preneed guardian for themselves in the event the adult becomes incapacitated and their Durable Power of Attorney or Designation of Healthcare Surrogate is challenged in Court. This is a helpful planning tool especially for individuals who are concerned that their family, who does not accept their way of life, may try to interfere and not respect the person named as the fiduciary in the legal documents. The law provides that the Judge must give great weight to the designation and appoint the person named (unless that person has been convicted of a felony).
Declaration of Preneed Guardian for a Minor
A parent can designate a guardian to care for the person and property of their minor age child in the event the parent becomes incapacitated or, dies. The law provides that the Judge must give great weight to the designation and appoint the person named (unless that person has been convicted of a felony).
Revocable Trust (Living Trust)
This estate planning tool is used when appropriate for the management of your assets and investments during your incapacity as well as avoid the probate process.