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We all understand death when a heart no longer beats and cannot be restarted. But what if its not your heart but you are brain dead as defined by doctors? But wait, what if you are in a persistent vegetative state? This leads to the questions, when and how do you want your life to end? Will your family or friends know if you want to remain on machines? Will your family or friends know if you want no machines? Will your family or friends know when no additional medical treatment is necessary? None of this is easy to think about as there’s always time to get to it later. Later may be too late. Don’t leave your family and friends guessing. Now is the time to get your Health Care Surrogate, Living Will, and Durable Power of Attorney done. Still think there’s time? Check out “There’s a surprisingly rich debate about how to define death” and then decide later is now. Call us next to make sure your wishes get honored.

Getting Divorced?  Have an Estate Plan?  Pay on Death Accounts?

When getting a divorce don’t forget that it will impact estate plans, beneficiary designations, and pay on death accounts.  Why?  Florida law will presume the former spouse predeceased and is not entitled to the funds.  How do you protect yourself? Make sure the Marital Settlement Agreement or Final Judgment requires the soon to be former spouse is to remain the beneficiary even upon dissolution of the marriage.  Already divorced but want a former spouse to receive bank accounts, retirement funds, or life insurance sign new forms.  Still have questions, contact us now to discuss your options.

Have a child reaching 18?

Is your child 18?  Want to speak to the financial aid counselor?  Have questions for a doctor?  Want access to your child’s bank account?  Then it’s important to have advance directives signed by your child.  So now you ask, what are advance directives?  The 3 basic documents are a Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate Designation, and Living Will.  Why are these important documents?  Because your child is giving permission for you to get information and make decisions that otherwise are only your child’s to make.  No one, especially an 18 year old, wants to think about this.  There is always time.  That’s a myth and we know because we get calls when someone suffers a major injury or illness and has no documents.  All we can do is suggest guardianship. Planning is better than chaos management when something goes wrong.

Also, do you have your documents?  Are they up to date?  This is a chance for family planning for everyone 18 and older.  Don’t wait,  contact us now to discuss your options.

Are your important documents Hurricane ready?

June 1 was the start of hurricane season for us in Florida. It doesn’t end until November 30.  While we all think of protecting our property and getting supplies, we may forget to protect our important documents.  It’s easier to plan to protect our documents now instead of when a storm is approaching.   Here are some suggestions:

  • Back up all your digital files to a cloud-based system
  • Scan a copy of your Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate Designation, Living Will, Last Will and Testament, Trust, and other important legal documents and upload to a cloud-based system
  • If you have original documents, consider a safe deposit box. If you don’t have a safe deposit box, then seal them in a waterproof plastic bag and place them in another waterproof container. Put the container in a place where it is not likely to be lost if there is significant damage to your home.
  • Send an electronic copy of your documents to a trusted family member or friend outside of Florida.

You don’t have a Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate Designation, Living Will, Last Will and Testament, or Trust?  Why not?  If you wouldn’t leave your important documents unprotected, why would you leave your decision making up to the courts? Don’t wait, contact us now to discuss your options.