A year later, we are still in a post-pandemic wave that seems to be making a comeback, and with it comes all the concerns of COVID-19, including the skyrocketing demand probate proceedings and wills, even among the non-elderly.
That is why considering an estate plan at this time is a crucial decision. So, what is an Estate Plan, and what is so special about it? An estate plan is a collection of documents that protects your assets and personal property (your “estate”) and explains how you want to pass them down, naming the people or organizations you want to receive the things you own after you die. It allows you to establish options that will be managed on your behalf if something happens to you or your loved ones. Estate Planning is the process to arrange for what will happen to your assets, minor children, health care, incapacitation and other related concerns, based on your wishes.
Proper estate planning includes more than simply drafting a will. In the State of Florida, there are a few estate planning documents that you should have on hand and kept up to date:
- Durable Power of Attorney: This document authorizes a person you trust to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so. These decisions can be simple, such as communicating with a utility company, or more complicated, such as managing banking, real estate, and legal matters.
- Living Will: This legal document allows a person to specify his, or her, end-of-life care preferences if they are unable to communicate them directly. This may occur in the case of an accident or a terminal illness.
- Health Care Surrogate: This document designates a trusted person to help make decisions about your health care, such as consent for treatment, HIPPA-related requests, and transportation between facilities.
- Pre-need guardian declaration: For parents with minor children, there is the option to appoint a guardian to care for your children should you become incapacitated or pass away before they become legal adults. You can also appoint someone to act as their legal guardian if the need ever arises.
No one wants to become ill or battle a life-threatening viral infection. However, with new cases on the rise, it is wise to consider creating an estate plan. In addition, a good estate plan avoids probate for your family. Ultimately, it will result in less worry and more control for you and your family should an unforeseen illness occur.
At the Law Offices of Gretchen Ortiz, we understand that we are all living in difficult times, and we are here to help you. Whether you need to establish a new estate plan or simply update your current one, we have a team of experts by our side who will listen to you and adjust it to suit your needs. Contact us today, and we will be more than happy to help you.