Planning for your death or disability is a difficult process for many people, but it is also necessary. It helps you make arrangements for what will happen to you, your property and your children if you become incapacitated or die, and it can make sure that your wishes are followed. A skilled Tallahassee probate lawyer can work with you to make sure that your estate is in good order, and that you’ve adequately prepared for your future.
Probate Law in Florida
Probate attorneys are lawyers who assist families and individuals with planning their estates. Although it is often called estate planning, it usually involves more than just establishing what will happen when you die. It also involves making plans for situations where you become disabled or incapacitated and cannot make medical or financial decisions on your own.
Each family and individual have different estate planning needs, based on the complexity of their family structure and the assets that they have amassed over the years. The objective of estate planning is to get your affairs in order and to make sure that your wishes are carried out after you die or become incapacitated. Working with a probate lawyer, you can achieve the following goals: you can establish a long-term care plan, appoint representatives to handle your medical or financial decisions, draft a will, and more. Norris Law firm offers a variety of estate planning services, including:
Health Care Proxy
This document names a person to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so. Incapacitation often happens unexpectedly, after an accident or serious illness, so having a health care proxy in advance can help to make sure that your wishes about your medical treatment are followed if you are seriously injured and can’t make these decisions on your own. With a health care proxy, you can designate a person who will make these decisions for you. You can specify that you do or do not want life-saving treatment such as intravenous fluids or nutrition, resuscitation, and life-support. A related document, a HIPAA Release, will allow authorized individuals to access your medical records and treatment information if you are incompetent or incapacitated.
Financial Power of Attorney
Now more than ever before, Americans are living to an age where they may not be able to handle their own financial matters due to disease or dementia. Incapacity can also occur to a younger person who has suffered a serious injury or accident, particularly a traumatic brain injury. A financial power of attorney, which may also be called a durable power of attorney, designates a person to handle the financial and property affairs for an incapacitated person. In order for a durable power of attorney to be effective, it must be set up before you become incapacitated so that you have a system in place to take care of your financial matters, such as accessing your bank accounts and paying bills.
Last Will and Testament
This document is often called a will, and it is an important part of any estate planning process, particularly if you have children or substantial assets. A will is a legal document, usually written by an attorney, that takes effect after you die. It states who will inherit your property after you die, and if you have minor children, it may also provide for the care and custody of your children. An executor is named in your will; that person will then act as the personal representative of your estate. He or she will then “probate” your will, which involves making sure that your property is disposed of properly and that all of your financial matters are wound up. If you do not have a will when you pass away, then you are said to be “intestate.” Your assets will be passed on to others based on Florida laws regarding intestate succession, which often results in your assets not being distributed how you would want them to be. With a will, you can ensure that your wishes are followed after death. A will can also be used to minimize estate taxes so that your hard-earned wealth is not drained by excessive taxes due to poor planning.