March 18, 2020
Concerns for the spread of coronavirus are continuing to increase within our community as more confirmed cases of the virus are reported within Florida and the United States. Our community has taken safety precautions and preventative measures, such as cancelling or postponing public gatherings, stocking up on hand soaps and sanitizers and preparing for a potential quarantine. In times of uncertainty and fear such as this, it is important to remember that we cannot control the future but we can do our best to prepare for it. Another important way to prepare for the future and give you peace of mind is to make sure your estate planning documents are accurate, valid and up to date.
Every responsible adult should have a set of estate planning documents including a Last Will & Testament, Durable Power of Attorney for Finances, Designation of Health Care Surrogate and Preneed Guardian, Living Will and Authorization to Release Medical Information. Some people put off having their estate planning done because they think they have time to do it in the future or they don’t think they have enough assets worth protecting. However, proper estate planning can end up saving greatly in the long run.
It is especially crucial to have valid advanced directives in place. If you become incapacitated and need someone to make medical decisions for you or pay your bills, these documents will provide the authority necessary for your loved ones to take care of you. If you become incapacitated without having your estate planning in order, your loved ones may need to petition the court for guardianship over your person and property for the authority to take care of you. Guardianship is a costly and inefficient way to grant someone that authority and should be avoided if at all possible.
Another important aspect of estate planning is ensuring your assets are distributed how and when you want them to be, and to the beneficiaries you have chosen. If you die without a valid Last Will and Testament, your assets that are not payable on death will need to go through the probate court, which can also be costly and inefficient. The beneficiaries of your probate assets will be the heirs that the State of Florida has designated called the “intestate” heirs.
There are many extremely valuable reasons to have your estate planning affairs in order. The spread of the coronavirus is another reminder that time is precious and the future is never guaranteed. If you or a loved one needs to create or update your estate planning documents, please call our office or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an initial consultation.