Why a Simple Will is Simply not Enough
A common misconception in estate planning is that creating a simple will (last will and testament) without creating the accompanying incapacity planning documents is enough. A last will and testament is the document that administers a person’s estate after death and distributes assets to beneficiaries. Only creating a last will and testament without incapacity planning documents is simply not enough. Most people become incapacitated before they pass, and not having incapacity planning documents will subject families to expensive and burdensome court supervised guardianship. Guardianship can cost thousands of dollars and take months to even get court approval depending on the clog in the court system.
Incapacity planning documents include: the declaration of health care surrogate (or health care directive), living will and durable power of attorney. These documents dictate the person who will handle your medical and/or financial affairs upon your incapacity. The declaration of health care surrogate designates surrogates who will act on your behalf to make medical-related decisions in the event you become incapacitated. The living will states which life prolonging measures you prefer your surrogates to take if you are in an end stage, vegetative or terminal condition. The durable power of attorney designates agents who will act on your behalf to make financial-related decisions in the event you become incapacitated. Also, important to note is that the Florida durable power of attorney statute significantly changed in 2011, therefore, your pre-2011 durable power of attorney document will need to be revised in accordance with the new statute.
Contact Capital Planning Law, PLLC for your complimentary consultation to discuss your estate planning, business law, probate, guardianship and/or real estate needs.