The entire world has changed dramatically over the past several weeks in light of the coronavirus pandemic. As more people see loss of life occurring every day, many cannot help but wonder what they can do to tie-up their end-of-life affairs if COVID-19 finds its way to them.
The most effective and practical form of legal protection is by creating a comprehensive estate plan with a Florida estate planning lawyer. Doing so ensures that affected individuals have a carefully designed set of instructions that they can provide to their survivors in case the unthinkable happens.
Now is the right time for estate planning before it is too late. For maximum protection and control, these are the 4 estate planning documents that Florida residents should have in place:
1. Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust—or RLT, for short—is a legal solution that alleviates many of the problems that a will cannot address. The trustee places all of his or her assets into the RLT for significant advantages.
If one passes away, his or her property does not go through the probate court process and subsequent IRS taxation. While the trust technically owns the assets, the trustee has full control over its use and allocation until his or her death, at which time the successor trustee will take over.
2. “Pour-Over” Will
There is the possibility that the trustee may pass away before having a chance to place assets into the trust. The “pour-over” will is the document one uses to probate any remaining assets into the trust at the time of the decedent’s death.
It is a guarantee that the assets in the estate avoid probate alongside the same tax advantages as those already in the trust. If a pour-over will is not in place, then assets must go through probate court.
3. Advanced Healthcare Directive
When an individual is unable to make medical decisions on his or her own, then having an advanced healthcare directive gives the named power of attorney specific instructions as to how the incapacitated person would like him or her to carry them out.
Also known as a “living will,” these directions may include how to handle artificial life support, whether burial or cremation is preferred, and other healthcare decisions.
4. Durable Power of Attorney
Naming a power of attorney gives a trusted individual, typically a spouse or adult child, the authorization to carry out directives in the advanced healthcare directive.
The power of attorney is generally assigned to the successor trustee or personal representative in many cases. However, a Miami estate planning attorney can provide legal counsel as to selecting the person best-suited for the given situation.
Working with a Florida Estate Planning Attorney
Having an estate plan is not exclusive to the super-rich. Anyone can benefit from having one in place, regardless of financial means.
If you need to discuss your end-of-life affairs with a Miami estate planning lawyer, contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. for experienced and trusted legal guidance. We will develop your estate plan promptly while minimizing in-person exposure during the coronavirus pandemic.