What Documents are Included in Estate Planning?
What documents are included in Estate Planning?
Attorney L. Reed Bloodworth, Founder and CEO of Bloodworth Law, said estate planning documents will include:
- The last will and testament
- A durable power of attorney
- A designation of a health care surrogate
- A living will, and, optionally,
- A trust
The Bloodworth Law Estate Planning Team, located in Orlando and Winter Haven, can work with you remotely on the phone, via Zoom, or in the office. We work with you on your estate planning and serve as legal counsel for Florida families and individuals across the state facing Estate Litigation, Probate Litigation or Trust Litigation.
Last Will and Testament
The last will and testament is the document created by the testator stating what they want to have happen with their assets, and who will receive them after their death.
Watch our video about “What Makes a Will Legal,” to find out how wills should be created and handled in Florida.
Power of Attorney
The durable power of attorney goes into effect the moment you sign it and it’s an immediate grant of power given to someone who you’ve selected to act on your behalf in a fiduciary manner. The durable power of attorney is actually the most important document created when you’re alive.
Be Careful With Super Powers
We tell people to choose someone they trust completely because they’re going to be able to act on your behalf in dealings with real property, investments, financial matters, business matters, your estate, your retirement, taxes, and trusts. They have what’s called superpowers.
We have our clients sign the document, and if they’re going to grant one of the superpowers, they have to initial that they are granting that superpower. By initialing it, they are saying, “Yes, I know what this is, and I’m going to give this superpower.”
Health Care Surrogate
The next document is the designation of a healthcare surrogate, where you’re naming someone who can make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. It doesn’t mean that you’re dying, it just means that you can’t make a medical decision.
Like the durable power of attorney, it is effective the moment you sign it; your agent can act for you.
What is a living will? A living will is a separate document from the health care surrogate. It controls the medical decisions to be made.
In the event you are terminally ill, and you have a terminal condition, an irreversible, in-stage condition, or a persistent vegetative state. If you are in that state, then the living will is what takes precedence.
The living will is not someone else making the decision for you. You’ve already made the healthcare decision. It lets your family know your wishes and whether or not you want to be maintained on life support — which is a major choice.
Living Will is Initialed at Every Effort
When we do a living will, we have our clients place their initials next to whichever life-extending efforts they want.
A trust is a financial situation created to hold property and assets for another party — or parties — who are called beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are the actual property and asset owners. A trust is created for a beneficiary to prevent assets and property from being taxed.
Estate planning is a major life responsibility and one that is brought to mind frequently when living in times like ours with a pandemic impacting all of our lives.
If you’ve had life changes, or you’ve moved from another state to Florida, you want to be sure your estate planning documents are in compliance with Florida law. A consultation with an estate planning attorney can review your existing plan.Consider sharing this post