Estate Planning

ESTATE PLANNING OPTIONS: CREATING THE BEST PLAN TO PROTECT YOU AND YOUR LEGACY

Thank you for your inquiry into the types of estate planning vehicles which a person may use in Florida to help identify who is their decision maker when they can not make their own decisions and who are their heirs upon their death.

In summary, estate planning can be viewed in two parts; planning for your incapacity, when you are unable to make your own decisions but not deceased, and planning for the distribution of your assets upon death.

To best address these different parts of estate planning, I have divided them into two separate headings and again I am happy to assist in helping you reach your estate planning goals in any way I can.

With a comprehensive estate plan in place, you can be confident that those you love will not be left with an uncertain future or suffering. In order to create an effective estate plan, you are going to require the services of a professional. If you live in Florida look no further than Clarie Law Office, P.A. Let us help your family create a plan that protects your assets and loved ones exactly the way you want.

ADVANCED DIRECTIVES

A Durable Power of Attorney is a document in which you can name someone to make legal and financial decisions for you when you are not able to do so.  In order for your Power of Attorney document to be used, you would need to be either incapacitated or in the alternative authorize its use.

Many clients simply name a primary decision-maker and an alternate decision-maker and in your case, this may be the best option moving forward.  There is no requirement as to where the person you name may live or any requirement as to the relationship they hold with you.  Other clients have their agent’s serve together acting either jointly and or individually.

In terms of healthcare advanced directives, Florida law provides for two different types of healthcare documents.  The first type is a Healthcare Surrogate, which you nominate a person or persons to make decisions when you are unable to do so for minor medical and diagnostic treatment.

The second type of healthcare document is a Living Will.  This document is used when it has been determined by two doctors that you are terminal with no probable chance of recovery.  This document authorizes your decision-maker to cease all artificial means of life support.

For both of these documents, I would support you naming a primary agent and also an alternate agent.  For these documents, I would need your agent’s full legal name, address and contact telephone number.

There are other types of documents which can designate who can act as your decision maker including but not limited to a document called a Pre-need Guardian.  The purpose of this letter is a brief overview and the other documents such as the Pre-Need Guardian can be reviewed in more detail along with the specifics in a conference with me and knowing your needs.

CREATING OF TRUST DURING LIFETIME AND/OR TESTAMENTARY PROVISIONS EITHER BY WILL OR TRUST

In addition to Advanced Directives, there are different methods and vehicles to achieve your estate planning goals for the management of your assets and for distribution at death.

One option is to create a Last Will and Testament.  This document names who is to receive your assets in the event of your death.  Some clients create under this Will a Trust which provides a good way to manage assets for either minor children or other heirs who may need assistance in managing assets.

The other option is to create a Revocable Trust and all your assets, excepting your car and usually homestead real property, are in the Trust.  The Trust vehicle allows you to maintain your assets in one planning document and is a helpful management tool.  At your death specific directions or provisions under your Trust would determine the disposition of any assets you choose to leave to the heirs named by you.

This is a quick summary of how assets may be distributed at death using a planning document you create when living such as a Will or Trust.  There are other ways to distribute assets without the need for a probate including leaving assets beneficiary designated or payable upon death. 

The purpose of this letter is a brief overview and the best option for you can be reviewed in more detail along with the specifics in a conference with me and knowing your needs. 

I hope this information is helpful to you.  

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