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Where Tradition Meets the Future

It’s June in Florida — is your estate planning kit ready?

estate planning kitBy: Eric Gurgold, Esq.

June is when Floridians plan their hurricane kits. Why not take time this month to put together an estate planning kit? It should include a Living Will, Designation of Health Care Surrogate, General Durable Power of Attorney, Last Will and Testament and Revocable Trust Agreement. Here’s why:

  • The Living Will sets forth end of life decisions if you are incapacitated.
  • The Designation of Health Care Surrogate designates individuals to make medical decisions, which do not have to be end of life decisions. Often the designated agents in both documents are the same person.
  • The Last Will and Testament provides for the disposition of assets upon death. It names beneficiaries to receive property, a personal representative to administer the estate and a guardian to care for minor children.
  • The Revocable Trust is created, primarily to avoid probate. You will be the trustee and beneficiary during your lifetime. You will reserve power to amend, alter or revoke the trust. At death, the trust acts in the same fashion as a will. It names beneficiaries to receive property, a successor trustee to administer the trust, and directs the disposition of your assets. It does not name a guardian, but may name a trustee to administer assets passing to trusts for minors.
  • The General Durable Power of Attorney provides for the appointment of a designated person to be responsible for your assets upon a designated event, such as incapacity. It allows your agent to deal with your assets as if they were you, gain access to information and respond to inquiries. If you become incapacitated and don’t have a Power of Attorney, a guardian will need to be appointed.

Recent Graduates

June is also graduation time. Your teenagers are becoming young adults and becoming legally independent. Your rights to act on their behalf and to receive information (such as medical information and grades in college) is disappearing. Consider having your young adult create a medical proxy and a power of attorney to allow you to continue to act on his or her behalf after he or she turns 18 years old.

Bottom Line

It’s never the wrong season to create or review an estate plan. Make sure your estate planning kit has all the necessary documents and that your estate plan is up to date. We are available for in-person or virtual consultations, whichever is most convenient for you. I may be reached at eric.gurgold@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1162.

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