Have a Happy New Year: Five Resolutions for a Stress-Free 2018

Estate planning can be an unsettling process for many people.  An estate plan is the strategy you develop at any age, for your life and future, to provide yourself and your family peace of mind, so you can enjoy the years to come worry free. There are a few things that you MUST do to put the planning in the past and start focusing on the present.

Countdown to a stress-free 2018:2018

  1. Complete All Necessary Health Care Directives.

Unless your wishes are explicitly in writing and according to all legal requirements, doctors and hospitals are not required to follow your wishes. They are not legally bound to listen to your loved ones, even if “they know what you would want” or to even speak to your loved ones without the necessary Federal Law mandated HIPAA Release.   Meet with an attorney to make sure that every single document that you need is completed and then easily available for your family and friends, doctors and hospitals. 

  1. Appoint a Durable Power of Attorney That You Trust.

This could potentially be your most important document.  Your Power of Attorney is someone that you would trust your life with … literally. While deciding who should be your Power of Attorney, you must be comfortable with them handling your financial matters and health matters, it should be someone that knows you inside and out and has similar views.  You should get the help of an attorney, as the laws are constantly evolving, and you must have the Power of Attorney follow state- specific laws and be signed and witnessed properly according to state law.  

  1. Review any Will or Trust that is Over 5 Years Old or Prepare a New One That You Are Completely Satisfied With.

Surprisingly, most Americans do not have a will. Under Florida law, if you do not execute a will, your assets will be distributed according to the Laws of Intestacy, possibly after a lengthy and costly Probate action. 1,001 things can go wrong without a Will and/or Revocable Living Trust.  Must be legally sufficient so your property can pass without concern.  Most importantly, YOU need to be comfortable with it. 

  1. Do not forget about your furry babies.

We are living in a time where pets are considered part of the family. If something were to happen to you, who would you trust to take care of your furry baby? How will they pay for their care, will you be kind enough to make sure to help them out? Problem solved. Did you know that the state of Florida allows you to create a pet trust? A pet trusts allows you to set up an account and make sure that your beloved pet will be taken care of for the rest of their lives. You will need a caretaker for your pet and a trusted friend to act as trustee and/or caretaker.

  1. Keep control of your Digital Assets and Accounts.

More and more we conduct business online. What happens to these online assets and accounts after you die? There are some steps you can take to help your family deal with your digital property. You should make a list of all of your online accounts, including e-mail, financial accounts, Facebook, Mint, and anywhere else you conduct business online. Include your username and password for each account.  Also, include access information for your digital devices, including smartphones and computers. And then you need to make sure the agent under your durable power of attorney and the personal representative named in your will have authority to deal with your online accounts. 

Most importantly, make an appointment with a compassionate and experienced attorney today!  Call 954-515-0101 to schedule your appointment and plan ahead!

 

Leave a Reply