In a previous post, we discussed two essential estate planning documents that will give you and your family peace of mind, and this post follows up with three more essential documents. This blog post series will help to clarify your final wishes about everything from assets to health directives and more, providing peace of mind for you, and your heirs and loved ones.
3. Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney identifies who will legally act on your behalf should you become unable to do so. It can address your business, real estate or financial matters, and be set up for just a certain time period or for a specific reason. However, it is only effective during your lifetime. You will need a durable power of attorney to allow someone to act on your behalf if you’re incapacitated or you pass away. Like trusts, the authorization of a Florida power of attorney document requires certain signing formalities along with rules about multiple agents, what happens in the case of divorce, and other specifics.
Once we have completed your power of attorney documents, you will experience the relief that comes from knowing that the best possible person is going to care for your business and practical matters.
4. Health Care Power of Attorney
A health care power of attorney document is one form of an advance directive. It is specifically used for choosing who will make health care decisions on your behalf. In it you identify a surrogate, someone who acts for you only terms of your health care, not for other aspects of your estate. Granting the right person – one who cares for you deeply – to make your critical health care choices when you are unable, affords you serenity about the future.
5. Living Will
While the health care power of attorney designates who will serve as your health care surrogate, it doesn’t specifically address your wishes in regards to end-of-life decisions: that is where a living will comes in. The living will, a second form of advance directive, addresses your medical care in regard to life-saving efforts, should you become incapable of expressing informed consent. A do, or do-not-resuscitate order is often the central focus. It will ensure that medical personnel know how to handle various situations, relieving your family of extremely painful decisions.
In Florida there are no legal requirements to have a health care power of attorney or a living will. Yet, if you overlook these two crucial, advance directive documents, someone who has no idea of your wishes may make decisions for you. In our experience, advance directives address the most sensitive family issues. Ignoring them may keep you from experiencing the peace of mind that ordinarily comes from estate planning.
Estate planning is for you and your loved ones’ benefit. Once completed, it is important to regularly review to ensure the documents continue to accurately reflect your current situation or any change in Florida regulations. Caldwell Trust believes that you are never too young or too old, too rich or too not so rich, to undertake the mission of drafting these five essential, estate-planning documents. We will help every step of the way.