When talking about estate planning, it is important that Florida residents know that the “planning” part of the process is just as important as the “estate” part. An estate is the assets and property that a person owns at the time of their death. A plan is set of instructions that a person wants others to follow when they are no longer alive to manage their estate.
Some estate planning matters are important even before individuals have passed away. Incapacity is a serious issue that can complicate estate matters when a person is still alive but unable to manage their own affairs. This post will introduce several important estate planning documents that Floridians can execute to prepare for incapacity. No part of this post should be read as legal advice.
Incapacity and financial management
Illness, injury, and other events can render lucid individuals incapable of paying their bills or managing their investments. When a person is incapacitated and cannot handle their money, the existence of an executed durable power of attorney can help. An individual named in a durable power of attorney can take over many important tasks for an incapacitated individual, including the management of their financial matters.
Incapacity and medical decisions
One area of care that many individuals worry about is health care. If a person is incapacitated and cannot make their own medical decisions, they can leave instructions in a living will. Living wills provide guidance on what, if any, treatments a person wants if they cannot communicate those desires themselves. An individual can also name a health care surrogate to make decisions for them if they cannot make medical decisions on their own.
Incapacity is a scary situation where a person is alive but unable to manage their life on their own. Estate planning, and in particular incapacity planning, can help. An estate planning attorney can advise their clients on these and other important matters.