A comprehensive estate plan generally has several components. Most people are aware of
the need to have a Last Will and Testament and to plan for how their real and personal
property will be disposed of upon their death. An equally important part of any estate
plan, however, is planning for the potential that you become incapacitated during your
lifetime and are unable to manage your personal financial affairs or make your own
As experienced estate planning attorneys, The Diamond Law Firm will your assist you in designing an estate plan that includes the necessary advance directives to address any period of incapacity.
Avoiding a court-monitored guardianship
Without the right advance directives, the court may have to impose a guardianship over your person or estate. This gives the court, rather than you, the power to appoint people to make decisions on your behalf and manage your property. With the right advance directives, you are able to choose the people you would want to make decisions for you and you can communicate your wishes for your own care.
The most common advance directives in Florida estate plans include the following:
Durable Power of Attorney
Under a Durable Power of Attorney, you choose a person to act as your agent or attorney-in-fact, and you can name successor agents. Your agent will have the power to act on your behalf to manage your bank accounts and investments, pay your bills, file tax returns, manage your real property, and handle other legal or financial matters on your behalf.
Designation of Health Care Surrogate
With this designation, you appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, and you can communicate your wishes regarding medical procedures or medications you would or wouldn’t want, including difficult end of life decisions. Without a Designation of Health Care Surrogate, Florida Statutes will govern who can serve as your health care proxy.
Living Will Declaration
This declaration informs your health care surrogate, family members, and physicians your desires regarding life-prolonging procedures and end-of-life decisions.