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WILLS, TRUSTS, AND ESTATE PLANNING

Health Care Advance Directives:

Health Care Advance Directives are written documents or oral statements whereby instructions are given by a principal concerning any aspect of the principal’s health care including the designation of a health care surrogate, a living will or anatomical gift. Health Care Advance Directives must be properly witnessed to be valid.

A Living Will is a witnessed written document made by the principal expressing the principal’s instructions concerning life-prolonging procedures.

A Life-Prolonging Procedure is any medical procedure, treatment, or intervention, including artificially provided sustenance and hydration, which sustains, restores, or supplants a spontaneous vital function. It does not include the administration of medication or performance of medical procedure, when such medication or procedure is deemed necessary to provide comfort care or to alleviate pain.

In the absence of a living will, the decision to withhold or withdraw life-prolonging procedures from a patient may be made by a health care surrogate.

Designation of Health Care Surrogate:
A Designation of Health Care Surrogate is a written document designating a surrogate to make health care decisions for a principal. It shall be signed by two witnesses in the presence of the principal. A designated surrogate may not act as a witness. At least one witness shall be neither the principal’s spouse nor blood relative.

Estate Planning:
A Durable Power of Attorney is a written power of attorney by which a principal designates another as the principal’s attorney in fact. It must be in writing and executed with the same formalities required for the conveyance of real property (2 witnesses and a notary, and the notary may act as one of the witnesses). It must contain the words, “This durable power of attorney is not affected by subsequent incapacity of the principal except as provided in s. 709.08, Florida Statutes.”

Who May Serve – a natural person, 18 years of age or older, of sound mind or a financial institution, with trust powers having a place of business in this state.

Effective Date – a durable power of attorney is exercisable as of the date of execution; however, if the durable power of attorney is conditioned upon the principal’s lack of capacity to manage property, the durable power of attorney is exercisable upon the delivery of affidavits to the third party.

Estate Planning Consultation Checklist:
1.   Any prior wills;
2.  List of real estate owned and/or copies of property deeds;
3.  List of assets (cars, stocks, bonds, annuities, retirement accounts, bank accounts, business interests and life insurance policies);
4. List of beneficiaries, people to whom you want to leave gifts, including their addresses;
5. Name of the person you want to manage your estate.

Last Will and Testament:
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document to provide for the disposition of assets – both real and personal, guardianship for children, and the appointment of a Personal Representative/Executor after death.

Any person over the age of 18 who is competent and has not been convicted of a felony may serve as a Personal Representative.

If you die without a Will, preference for Personal Representatives, approved by the court, shall be as follows:
i. Surviving spouse
ii. Person selected by a majority of the heirs
iii. Closest blood relative
iv. A guardian of the property if the deceased was declared incompetent

If you die without a Will, your assets will be distributed as set forth in Florida Statues 732.102 and 732.103.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN ESTATE PLAN, THE STATE OF FLORIDA HAS ONE FOR YOU!

Your Will is your opportunity to leave your property to whom you want, when you want, the way you want, and to nominate the person who will be responsible for the administration and distribution of your assets. A “significant other” has no rights to act as Personal Representative or as a natural heir.

Personal Property may be distributed by a Memorandum or Separate Writing incorporated by reference. This permits ease of distribution and allows for changes to the distribution of personal property.

To schedule your initial consultation and discuss how we can help you, email or call us today!

Andre T. Young | Young Law Firm of Florida, LLC | Serving Central Florida with offices in Orlando (407) 422-4000 and Daytona Beach (386) 308-8810. We offer weekend and evening appointments as needed.

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