There are several documents that all people should include in their estate plans. These documents are: a last will and testament, durable power of attorney, living will, designation of health care surrogate, and designation of preneed guardian.


Last will and testament

A last will and testament, also known as a will, is a document that sets out how a person wants his or her assets to be distributed after death. A will can be a long complex document, or a will can be a short simple document. The inclusion of most things in a will is up to the person who is drafting the will.

It is always recommended that a person hire an attorney to draft his or her will. There are several requirements for a valid will in Florida, and an attorney will be able to make sure that these items are included in your will. If the requirements of execution are not followed, the will may be ineffective when it is needed most. Therefore it is always good to have an attorney assist you in drafting your will.


Durable power of attorney

A durable power of attorney is a document that allows for a trusted person to make decisions for you. This document is incredibly important if you are ever incapacitated and are unable to make important decisions, such as applying for Medicaid if you need to go to a nursing home or accessing your bank accounts in order to provide for your care if you are incapacitated. Due to the powers included in a durable power of attorney, it is critical that you consult with an attorney about drafting the power of attorney. If a durable power of attorney is not drafted correctly, your agent may not be able to take action when you need it most or you may be providing powers that you do not want to provide to someone you may not trust.


Living will

A living will is a document that sets out a person’s wishes in the event the person is incapacitated and have an end stage terminal illness or if the person is in a persistent vegetative state. If a person is in either of these situations, the living will can state that the person does not wish to have the process or dying artificially extended. Living wills are important if you are unable to communicate your wishes and make sure that your wishes are followed.


Designation of healthcare surrogate

A designation of health care surrogate is a document that appoints allows a principal, the person who executes the designation, to appoint a person to make healthcare decisions for the principal. It is important to appoint a trusted person as the healthcare surrogate. The healthcare surrogate can make healthcare decisions while the principal is not able to.


Designation of preneed guardian 

A designation of pre-need guardian lets you decide who will oversee your affairs if you become incapacitated or incompetent, your durable power of attorney is unable address your needs, and a guardianship is necessary. 


Contact us today to schedule a free consultation or estate plan review. 

A Richert Quarles P.A., we offer an affordable basic estate planning package that includes all of the documents listed here. This estate plan package will provide a person with all of the documents needed to carry out his or her wishes in the event something happens. If you already have an estate plan and want to make updates or would like to see if it will work for your situation, we also offer free estate plan reviews. At the estate plan review, one of our attorneys will review your estate planning documents and will be able to provide some recommendations of changes to the estate plan if needed. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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