Have you recently learned you have been named in a Florida estate plan? It is always good news to know that people have prepared with an estate plan for any crisis that might occur now and in their future and have protected the future of their legacy. Were you surprised to learn that you were the person chosen to make decisions in the estate plan if there was an incapacity or death? With this responsibility you may have questions now about what your duties and responsibilities actually are as a part of the estate plan process. We would like to share a few questions you should ask the creator of the estate plan as you prepare for your role as the decision maker.
1. Have you been named the decision maker in the health care documents? In Florida a medical power of attorney is called the designation of health care surrogate and you have been named the surrogate. What does all this mean? Start with the basics: What does the person want for his or her general care? What about long-term care? What would he or she want if life support was needed? These can certainly be tough questions but you need to know what he or she would want so you can act accordingly in all health care situations. A key bit of advice would be to get, keep, and maintain a current list of the person’s diagnoses, doctors, specialists, and medicines.
2. Have you also been put in charge of the finances? Now you may have never discussed the finances of the person who has chosen you to be in charge. However, if you have been named as the agent in a durable power of attorney or a trustee in the trust, it is now the time to learn. You should ask questions about where the investments are, who does he or she work with, and what type of management fees are paid? Are there any life insurance or other policies with beneficiaries that might pass outside the estate plan? Are those planning tools up-to-date? All these discussions should begin as soon as possible so you know what to expect should you need to step in.
3. Who is the Florida estate planning attorney? All successful estate plans have an experienced estate planning attorney behind them. You need to ask questions like: Who is the attorney or attorneys who assisted with this estate plan? What should your relationship be with them? Where are the original documents located? With permission of the creator of the estate plan is it possible to meet the attorney in advance to make sure you understand your roles and responsibilities?
Being named within the estate plan of someone you know brings serious questions that you need answered. We know you may have questions about this, and many other, issues. At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.