Discovering Your Estate Planning Options

Jacksonville Estate Planning Attorneys

Often we do not consider estate planning until the later stages in life. However, regardless of a person's age and current situation, he or she should consider estate planning and develop those documents necessary to cover all possibilities and provide peace of mind. Estate planning can involve much more than just drafting a last will and testament, which will determine how your assets will be distributed upon your death. It may also involve drafting documents which insure that your affairs are taken care of in the event you are incapacitated.

For example, a durable power of attorney will allow you to appoint one person or multiple persons to handle your affairs. You may choose to appoint alternates as well in the event the first person or person is unable or refuses to act on your behalf. At Owenby Law, P.A., our Jacksonville estate planning lawyers can help you create a durable of attorney that reflects your specific needs.

Durable powers of attorney can:

  • Be immediately effective, or only effective upon your incapacity.
  • Cover your financial affairs and only remains effective during your life. Upon your death, said document becomes null and void.

Wish to explore your options? Call (904) 770-3141 for an initial consultation.

Why Do You Need a Living Will & Health Care Surrogate?

A durable power of attorney does not however cover your health or medical care issues. For that, a living will and health care surrogate will be required. A living will indicates what situations you wish to receive medical treatment, for example, whether or not you wish to remain on life support if you are in a vegetative state. This document generally allows you to specify which situations you wish to be provided life sustaining care and in which situations you do not.

A health care surrogate actually appoints a person or persons to make decisions on your medical treatment in the event you are unable to do so.

You may appoint:

  • One person or multiple people
  • Alternates in the event your first choice is unable to act on your behalf

Now, due to privacy laws in the medical field, often the health care surrogate may not be provided access to your medical records without a HIPPA release, and without those records he or she may not be able to make the proper determinations regarding your medical care. For that reason, your health care surrogate should also be provided a HIPPA release to allow him or her to view your medical records.

The Benefits of Wills & Testaments

The most common estate planning document, however, is the last will and testament.

This document will allow you to:

  • Appoint an executor or personal representative to handle your affairs upon your passing.
  • Determine how your assets shall be distributed upon your death.
  • Appoint a guardian or guardians for minor children in such a situation

If you are married and or have minor children, there are restrictions on your distribution but these situations should be discussed with your attorney prior to drafting your last will and testament. While many people do not wish to consider death, it is generally in everyone's best interest to plan ahead and make sure all situations are covered. No one knows what tomorrow will bring and by having your estate planned, you will have peace of mind that you and your loved ones are covered for every situation possible. Call our Jacksonville elder law lawyers for more information!

To begin planning your estate, please give us a call as soon as possible.