Planning for Disability
What if I don't die; what if I become sick or otherwise incapacitated in my old age?
If you become physically or mentally incapacitated, you will not be capable of managing your own financial affairs. It is a mistake to assume that your spouse or adult children can automatically take over your affairs. They will need to hire an attorney to petition a court to declare you legally incompetent before they can begin managing your finances. Additionally, they may have to come back to the court every year and show how they are spending and investing your assets. If you want to save your family from this expensive and time consuming situation, you must designate a person or persons under a Durable Power of Attorney so that they will have the authority to withdraw money from your accounts to pay your bills, take distributions from your IRAs, sell stocks, etc. Merely having a will does not allow for this, as it has no effect until you die.
In addition, care should be taken to establish a plan for decisions relating to your medical care. Florida law allows you to use a health care surrogate form to appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. For example, you can appoint a family member or close friend to make decisions relating to surgery, therapy, drug administration, etc.
A living will is also important to inform others of the medical treatments you would prefer to have withheld should you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill. For example, the person selected can choose to have feeding tubes withheld, while maintaining pain relief.
Planning to Minimize Estate Tax Liability at Death
Planning to Avoid Probate
Planning for Minor Children
Planning for Special Needs Individuals