The Coronavirus continues to impact Florida, especially those of us in south Florida. It has interrupted both our personal and work lives, and it seems that it will continue to do so as we approach the summer months. From overcoming challenges in working remotely to teaching children at home to simply ensuring we socially distance and stay as safe as possible, we are all facing uncertainty right now and there are not many definitive answers.
One of the questions we receive most frequently to our office at this time is: what estate planning needs to be in place and what will it accomplish? We know that for non-lawyers, and even lawyers, at times, the range of protections you need and can receive from estate planning is often not well understood. Let us share with you a few key considerations and why, now, Florida estate planning is more important than ever.
1. You need a health care advocate in the hospital and outside of it. While it may seem logical that your spouse or adult child or a sibling could make your health care decisions if you could not, your wishes do not equal legal authority. You need to choose a trusted individual who would act for you, as you would want, in a crisis. We can give this legal authority to the person you choose, and even a secondary or tertiary decision maker, by creating your health care planning documents with you as a part of your Florida estate plan.
2. You need someone to keep your affairs moving forward. If you are unable to make decisions for yourself due to serious illness or incapacity, you want the peace of mind that your daily affairs can be managed. This includes paying bills, depositing your checks, or even making decisions about long-term care. Through your estate planning you can select this financial decision maker as well by creating a durable power of attorney or even a trust agreement with your experienced estate planning attorney.
3. Your family, your business, and your legacy need to be protected. Lifetime protections are not all we need. We also need to plan for a time when we may no longer be here. You can create your legacy for yourself, your family, and your business by creating a last will and testament or a trust agreement. You do not want to leave anything in your life to chance, and we encourage you to complete this planning if you have not already done so.
We know you have questions. We are here and open for you. As an essential business we take our responsibility to ensure that you are protected at all times seriously. Do not wait to call us. We are taking prudent precautions each day in order to ensure that we can meet with you safely.