Are your affairs in order in the unfortunate event of disability or death?
As an estate planning and probate lawyer, I am often asked “What legal documents do I need in case of disability or death?” There are several documents I encourage every single person to have whether single, married or in a domestic partner relationship. Here are just a couple of the recommended documents every person should have:
1. Living Will and/or Health Care Surrogate – Your health care surrogate can make decisions for you when you become unable to participate in medical treatment decisions. A Living Will provides for your wishes concerning end-of-life treatment if one has a terminal condition, an end-stage condition, or is in a persistent vegetative state.
2. Durable Power of Lawyer – Document in which you delegate to another person, your agent, financial and medical responsibilities. A durable power of lawyer is effective immediately and continues in effect even if you become incapacitated unless you limit it to become effective only upon your disability.
3. Designation and/or Nomination of Guardian for Minor Children – If you have minor children (under the age of 18), you can designate and/or nominate who you wish to become the guardian over your minor child and/or children. The court’s review your wishes in determining who should be appointed as guardian over minor children in the case of both parents and/or legal guardians become deceased. The court is not bound by our designation and/or nomination but are often swayed by your wishes outlined in this document which is filed with the court.
4. Last Will and Testament – Document in which does not become effective until your death. It is not filed with the Court until after your death. This documents expresses your wishes as to appointment of personal representative to handle your estate’s affairs and establishes how and to whom you wish for your assets to be distributed. Under Florida law, if you do not have a Will, then your assets pass automatically to family members in accordance with Chapter 732, Florida Statutes. Not all assets are included in your probate estate and it is important to discuss this with an lawyer when preparing a Will.
These are just a few of the options available to every adult Florida resident. This list is not meant to be exhaustive and you should ask your lawyer about all other options available to you or that may satisfy your specific needs.
If you would like additional information, a free informational packet, and pricing information (*discounts may be available for former and current clients of the firm), you may contact us through our contact form.