Probate Attorneys near Cape Coral, Florida
An estate planning and elder law attorney specializes in preparing wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, pre-need guardian designations, health care surrogates, living wills and HIPAA documents. They also handle the administration of probate and trust estates after someone dies. A probate estate includes real estate and other property that someone owns in their name alone at the time of death. Trust administration addresses assets that are titled in a trust after the death of the person who created the document. At Prather & Swank, P.A., our attorneys have years of experience with both probate and trust administration. This includes administrations where Medicaid is a creditor. Work with one of our estate planning attorneys so you can be prepared for the future.
General Estate Planning Documents
A will is the most common way for someone to document specifically how they want their estate handled after death and address who they want in charge. Wills vary in length based on estate size and preferences of the testator. This document must be validly executed by an adult with capacity, and must be in writing.
A living will allows someone to state their specific wishes for end-of-life medical care in case they cannot communicate in the future. A living will provides invaluable information to family members and healthcare professionals when a person is no longer able to communicate on their own.
Once a trust is drafted, it allows a person to title assets in the trust, rather than in their own name. The trustee is the person who manages trust assets and is often the person who creates the trust. This document is similar to a durable power of attorney, as it allows the trustee to manage trust assets during the grantor’s life. It also has will-like features that direct the disposition of assets after the grantor’s death. If funded correctly, a trust can avoid probate. A trust can be revocable, meaning it can be amended or revoked, but it can be irrevocable as well. A trust is usually drafted as a separate document and funded while the grantor is alive, but it can also be added to a will. That kind of trust is called a testamentary trust.
Durable Power of Attorney
This is a legal document that gives someone else authority to manage your financial affairs. You must be mentally competent to sign this document, but it will continue to be effective even if you are incapacitated in the future. A durable power of attorney is effective immediately in Florida so the authority of the person you appoint cannot be conditioned on your ill health. If you don’t know who to appoint, discuss it with your attorney.
Health Care Surrogate
A health care surrogate is similar to a durable power of attorney, but is put into place so someone else can make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
Do Not Resuscitate Order
A do not resuscitate (DNR) order is a doctor’s order signed by you (or your health care surrogate or proxy) and your doctor. It states that you do not want to be resuscitated in the event of a respiratory or cardiac arrest. A DNR is normally only signed for someone who is terminally ill or in a vegetative state. Comfort care measures, such as oxygen administration, hemorrhage control and pain management, will still be used. Florida’s DNR is a form drafted by the Florida Department of Health and must be printed on yellow paper before it’s signed. A copy of this form can be obtained by downloading it from this site.
Call Prather & Swank, P.A. if you live in Cape Coral and feel uncertain about your estate planning options. Our attorneys will help get all your documents in order so you can have peace of mind about your future and the future of your loved ones.