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Estate Planning Documents

Last Will and Testament

  • States how your assets will be distributed upon your death.
  • Designates who will administer your estate (subject to residency restrictions under Florida law).
  • Is executed in accordance with the laws of the State where you reside.
  • Is subject to Probate under Florida law, which can cost your estate 5% – 6% or more of its value of the assets in the estate for fees and costs.

Probate

  • Is the process where the court validates your will, gives notice of your death to creditors and other interested parties, and ultimately oversees the distribution of your assets.
  • Can cost your estate 5%-6% or more of the value of the assets in the estate.
  • Can last many months or longer.

Revocable Living Trust

  • Can avoid Probate under Florida law.
  • Can avoid probate in other states where you own property.
  • States how your assets will be distributed upon your death.
  • Designates who will administer your estate (no residency restrictions).
  • Allows you to retain full ownership and control over your assets.
  • Avoids guardianship by providing for the management of your assets should you become incapacitated or incompetent.
  • Can protect a child’s inheritance from his or her creditors, or a soon-to-be ex-spouse.
  • Can allow a beneficiary with special needs to have the benefit of an inheritance while continuing to qualify for needs-based government assistance.

Durable Power of Attorney

  • Appoints a person to handle your business and financial affairs for you in the event you become incapacitated and unable to act for yourself.
  • If created properly, can avoid guardianship proceedings.
  • Can be created, but not given to the person chosen, until needed in the future.
  • Is a very powerful document. Choose your attorney-in-fact carefully.
  • Ends upon your death.
  • Should be updated if you have an out-of-state document.

Designation of Healthcare Surrogate

  • Appoints a person to make medical decisions for you, such as whether you should receive a certain type of treatment, or undergo an operation, in the event you are unable to make such decisions for yourself.
  • Should be updated to include HIPAA language, if existing document pre-dates 2003.
    Living Will
  • An expression of your wishes that states if you have a terminal condition or end stage condition, with no hope of recovery and if death is imminent, then life-prolonging procedures may be withheld or withdrawn.



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