Estate planning is considered a prudent action addressing a person’s end of life requests regarding health care issues if they are no longer able to speak for themselves, funeral and burial services, and distribution of net worth at the time of their death. This consists of outlining assets and liabilities so those taking care of the financial affairs have an idea how to settle them. In Florida, an estate planning attorney can help with the completion of three very important documents that are necessary such as a: 1) last will and testament with or without guardianship depending on a scenario where there are minor children, 2) an advanced healthcare directive and a 3) durable power of attorney.
- A Last Will and Testament is important for the purposes of explaining where and how an individual would like their assets divided, debts resolved and end of life issues outlined. An experienced probate attorney can make sure a will contains the legally necessary language so that a person’s wishes can be honored at the time of their death. A Florida will must be prepared properly, signed, witnessed and notarized. Florida recognizes different types of wills including:
- A Florida Pour over will is used when there is a revocable trust and instead of making the distributions to a single beneficiary or beneficiaries, the will generally make one distribution into the Trust.
- A Florida Medicaid willbe used to create a supplemental trust fund in order to allow a spouse who is receiving Medicaid benefits for long-term medical care to continue eligibility after a spouse passes away.
- A Florida will that includes a testamentary trust is a last will and testament in Florida that adds a trust fund for children or other beneficiaries effective upon the death of the testator.
- Holographic or written wills are not allowed in Florida but may be recognized if executed in another state that allows them.
Key provisions of a will usually include:
- Identification of the testator
- Document identification as a last will and testament
- Naming an executor
- Distribution of personal property
- Bequests – defined as special or general
- Payment of estate expenses
- Distribution of residuary estate – A will should always designate who is to receive the residuary of the estate in some fashion whether that is “to my heirs in equal shares per stirpes” or “to my children”
- Any other provisions testator requests pertaining to asset distribution.
- An Advance Healthcare Directive is the document that details the type of care you want administered in the event you become disabled and cannot speak for yourself. In Florida this essential documentation is sometimes called a medical directive or advance directive, and covers you or family members regarding medical power of attorney and do not resuscitate orders and these documents fulfill legal functions so you need both.
- A Durable Power of Attorney designates another person to conduct business on your behalf when you cannot. In the event of disability all other powers of attorney become ineffective except for this one document, the durability of this document allows it to survive disability and is fundamental to estate planning.
Seek legal counsel.
Estate planning is important to secure your assets, and keep loved ones from further undue hardship after a death. The documents reveal end of life wishes, and direction on asset disbursements. Baby Boomers’ Barrister Law Firm in St. Petersburg Florida can be of assistance in the preparation of estate planning documents while they explain their importance.
Baby Boomers’ Barrister Estate Planning & Elder Law
100 2nd Avenue S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 565-4250