In this article, we will discuss the core estate planning documents for an effective estate plan in Florida. The below discussed Florida estate planning documents can provide peace of mind and protect your financial interests and family’s well-being. Here are the core documents for effective estate planning in Florida.
1. Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament, commonly referred to as a will, is an important document in your estate planning documents. A will allows you to specify how you want your assets and property to be distributed upon your death. In your will, you can name beneficiaries, appoint guardians for minor children, nominate a personal representative for your estate, and even establish testamentary trusts. In Florida, to create a valid will, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind, and the will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses.
2. Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a legal document that appoints someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. It is important to remember that this power goes into effect immediately as soon as your sign the Durable Power of Attorney. Florida does not permit a “springing power of attorney” that only goes into effect upon your incapacity. The person you appoint is known as an attorney-in-fact or agent.
3. Healthcare Power of Attorney/Health Care Directive and Living Will
A Health Care Power of Attorney addresses your medical care preferences and designates someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. You can have this power go into effect immediately upon signing or state that it only goes into effect upon your incapacity. This document is vitally important to make sure you name a trusted individual(s) to manage your health care decisions.
A Living Will outlines your preferences regarding end-of-life medical treatments, such as the use of life-support equipment, organ donation, and pain management. A Living Will is not required but many people choose to draft this health care document, so they are not kept alive by machines if there is no reasonable medical probability of their recovery.
This list covers some of the core estate planning documents but it is important to discuss with a qualified estate planning attorney all the legal documents you need to carry out your estate planning goals. To create a personalized estate plan that addresses your unique circumstances, it is advisable to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in Florida. Please reach out to The Siegel Law Firm, PA anytime with questions.