What Does a Basic Estate Plan Include?

A basic estate plan is more than just a Will, though having a Will is an important component and essential to an estate plan.  So here are the basics:

Last Will & Testament – the document that determines who gets what upon your death. You will appoint a Personal Representative who will be responsible for administering your estate according to your wishes.  A Will is especially important if you have minor children because it allows you to name a guardian.

Durable Power of Attorney – this document allows your designated agent to step into your shoes and make legal and financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.

Designation of Healthcare Surrogate – much like the power of attorney, the healthcare surrogate is the person you choose to step into your shoes and make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.

Living Will – this is your directive regarding what to do in the event you are terminally ill or in a persistent vegetative state, a/k/a whether you want your healthcare surrogate to “pull the plug.”

As I discuss in the video, you may not want to designate the same person to serve as both your attorney in fact and healthcare surrogate.  What is important is that you take measures to protect what matters most to you now, before that power is no longer yours.  In the state of Florida, if you do not create a will, the state will create one for you.  If you do not have a power of attorney and healthcare surrogate in place, the court may appoint someone to act for you, and that person may not be one you would have chosen for yourself.

Disclaimer: This website and blog contain general information which is not intended to be specific legal advice. If you need specific legal advice, please seek advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Nothing contained on this website or blog is intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

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