Five Estate Planning Documents You Need Today

Five Estate Planning Documents You Need Today

May 22, 2020

Even if you lack the pre-existing conditions that would make COVID-19 instantly deadly, this is still a good time to accept the fact that nothing is guaranteed and you need estate planning documents in Miami, FL. Families with incapacitated loved ones face further confusion when no one is appointed to make medical decisions on your behalf, or even access your bank account to pay utility bills. You can reduce stress and infighting in your family with the right estate plan in place. Here are five documents you need today:

  • Healthcare power of attorney: If disease or injury results in incapacitation and a lengthy hospital stay, you need someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. This individual is appointed in a healthcare power of attorney. Without this document, family members will have to appeal to the court system to gain this power. Courts are currently limiting their services and capacity, so this process could take a while. That is why it is best to deal with this issue before you face incapacitation.
  • Living will: If you execute a healthcare power of attorney, you should also include a living will. This document outlines your wishes as to medical care, such as whether you accept measures like artificial nutrition and hydration, artificial respiration or pain relief. The living will also includes your preference as to organ donation. If your family knows your wishes, it will make difficult decisions much easier.
  • Durable financial power of attorney: Even if you are stuck in the hospital, your mortgage, utility bills and credit cards still need to be paid on time. If you are receiving a paycheck or benefits, someone may need to ensure their deposit. This document grants those powers to a trusted individual of your choosing. If illness or injury requires long-term care, this individual can also sell your home, find a care facility or apply for benefits on your behalf.
  • Revocable living trust: This document is similar to a will in that it divides your property and names beneficiaries. However, a will is not effective until after you die. The living trust remains in effect if you are incapacitated and still need to provide for your loved ones. It will transfer assets, ensure an income to your dependents and continue controlling your finances even after you pass away. This is often the best option for someone facing long-term illness that may reduce capacity later. It is a more flexible option than a will.
  • Guardianship: If you have minor children, it is a good idea to set up a guardianship as well. Single parents definitely need this instrument, as your backup for childcare will not be readily apparent if you are incapacitated. However, even if you are married, there is a chance that an accident will render both of you incapacitated. Having a guardianship in place means your children will be in the care of a trusted adult if you are not able to care for them.

Ruben J. Padron, PA offers estate planning legal representation. Contact our office today to start drafting your estate planning documents in Miami, FL.

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