The start of a new year offers the perfect opportunity to get organized, and few things are more important to organize than your estate planning documents. Your estate plan affects decision-making during your lifetime and beyond, but you can only be fully protected if you have all the right documents. It is essential to review your plan if you have documents prepared when you lived in a different state.

Let’s take a look at what you need in Florida.

Everyone Needs an Up-to-Date Will

You need a will, and it needs to meet Florida requirements, which differ from some other jurisdictions. If you have a revocable living trust set up to allow your assets to pass directly to beneficiaries, you still should have a pour-over will. That document covers any property that does not get transferred into the trust for one reason or another.

If you executed your will years ago, it is a good idea to have an estate planning attorney review the terms to ensure that they are still able to accomplish your goals.

A Durable Power of Attorney Protects You from Guardianship

People tend to plan for their death, but often do not think about what would happen if an illness or injury incapacitates them. If you’re unconscious and can’t communicate, what happens? Who pays the bills and manages your affairs? Your family may need to initiate lengthy and expensive guardianship proceedings to handle things on your behalf.

Executing a durable power of attorney enables someone you trust to access your accounts and handle financial matters when you are unable to do so. Your estate planning attorney can set up a power of attorney that grants someone broad authority to handle all of your affairs or narrow authority to manage only specific tasks.

Health Care Documents Can ensure Your Wishes are Followed

Many people are surprised to realize that many critical estate planning documents are designed to protect their health rather than financial matters. Your estate plan should include:

  • A living will specifying the types of treatments you would want if you are suffering from a terminal condition
  • A health care surrogate designation that authorizes a loved one to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated
  • Privacy authorization documents that give healthcare providers permission to discuss your medical needs with doctors and insurance companies

Consider Trusts or Other Documents

Everyone has unique needs and goals, and modern estate plans use a variety of trusts and other tools to achieve those goals. A revocable trust can aid in avoiding probate for your loved ones, while other types of trusts can assist in qualifying for Medicaid for long-term care, minimizing estate taxes, or caring for a loved one with special needs.

Talk to Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A. About a Tune-Up of Your Estate Plan

If you are working from an estate plan established years ago or while you lived in another jurisdiction, this is a good time to schedule a tune-up. An attorney from Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A. can review your documents, your current situation, and your future goals to see whether it is time to revise or add additional documents to your plan. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation.