It is that time of year again to sit down with your loved ones, over eat, and go around the table and say what you are thankful for. The reality of the situation is that you sit down to eat an overabundance of food with extended family members you sometimes wish were strangers. You hope you don’t come across as rude when you would rather pay attention to the football game on the television as opposed to listening their mundane stories. After all, if you really wanted to hear their stories throughout the year, you could have called them, texted or even sent a Facebook message.
It is the start of the holiday season in South Florida and the last thing on your mind is planning your estate for when you pass away or preparing documents in case you become incapacitated. But in reality, this time of year makes you realize that if you do not properly plan your estate, family members that you are not too fond of might fight over your estate (and win). Is that really something you want to happen when you pass away? I think not!
Start thinking about who you would like to make medical and financial decisions for you in case you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. Remember, if you are married, your spouse is not legally given the right to make medical and financial decisions for you. That right must be placed in writing. Also, if you have “children” in college, you will need their written permission to make decisions for them. “Because I said so”, is no longer a valid answer as a parent once your child reaches the age of eighteen!
It is the perfect time for South Florida residents to think about building (or updating) their estate-planning portfolio:
Will: State your final wishes regarding who will receive or who will not receive from your estate, name guardians for your minor children, state directions regarding organ donation and burial
Revocable Trust(living trust): In depth document that will state your final wishes. You are able to place stipulations and retain control of your assets during your lifetime.
Durable Power of Attorney: Name someone to manage your financial affairs either immediately or in the future should you become unable to do so yourself.
Living Will: Document that will state how and if you want to prolong your life if you fall into a vegetative state.
Healthcare Surrogate: Name someone to act on your behalf if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
If you live in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach counties it is time to start discussing with loved ones their estate planning needs. You can’t predict the future, but you can plan for it.
Contact an experienced estate-planning attorney at The Hershey Law Firm, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at (954) 303-9468 to discuss your estate planning needs.