Every client’s situation is unique, and a client’s Estate Planning may contain many documents. That being said, there are four documents I recommend my Estate Planning clients consider that I consider essential – Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate Designation, Advance Healthcare Directive, and a Last Will & Testament.
Durable Power of Attorney
This important document allows you to name agents to look after finances and property on your behalf. This Power of Attorney is “Durable” in that the person to whom it is given can continue to manage your assets for you even if you are disabled and unable to make those decisions for yourself.
Health Care Surrogate Designation
This is the equivalent of a medical power of attorney and is “durable” in that the person to whom it is given can continue to make health care decisions for you even if you are disabled and unable to make those decisions for yourself. This document is governed by special laws enacted to protect you in the event health care decisions must be made and you are incapable of making them.
Advance Healthcare Directive
This document is a written document about how you want medical decisions made should you not be able to make them yourself. The difference between the Health Care Surrogate and the Advance Directive is that the Health Care Surrogate is written for times of poor health to allow full access to healthcare providers and information; when you are unable to make your own decisions, yet the thought is that there will be survival with quality of life. The Living Will is essentially the document that says when YOU would like to say “turn it off if there is no hope”.
Last Will and Testament
A Will must be appropriately drafted so that there is no confusion in the plain language and so all technical requirements are met —witnessing, self-proof, etc. The Will is essentially an instruction sheet for the Florida probate court so the judge can rightly determine who is entitled to the estate assets.
Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law, serves clients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Melbourne, and beyond with matters of Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Probate Law. Contact her today to schedule a free consultation. Visit her page on Facebook, or see what her clients are saying to learn more about Heidi.