Estate Planning Attorneys near Naples, Florida
Elder Law and estate planning attorneys specialize in preparing trusts, wills, durable powers of attorney, pre-need guardian designations, health care surrogates, living wills and HIPAA documents. They can also take care of the administration of probate and trust estates after someone dies. A probate estate is made up of real estate and other property that a person owns in their name at the time of their death. Trust administration addresses assets titled in a trust after the death of the person who created the document. The lawyers at Prather & Swank, P.A. have significant experience with probate and trust administration. This includes administrations where Medicaid is a creditor. Death is inevitable, so working with an estate planning attorney from Prather & Swank, P.A. is a logical decision.
General Estate Planning Documents
Wills are the most common way for a person to document exactly how they want their estate to pass after death and who they want in charge. Wills vary in length depending on estate size and testator preferences. They must be validly executed by an adult with full mental capacity and must be in writing.
A living will allows someone to state their specific wishes regarding end-of-life medical care in case they cannot communicate them in the future. A living will provides valuable guidance to family members and healthcare professionals when someone cannot speak on their own behalf.
Once executed, a trust allows a person to title assets in the trust, rather than in their individual name. A trustee is a person tasked with managing trust assets and is often the person who creates the document. A trust is similar to a durable power of attorney in the sense that it allows the trustee to manage assets during the grantor’s life. It also has features that are similar to a will, as it can direct the disposition of assets after the grantor’s death. When funded properly, a trust can avoid probate. A trust can be revocable, meaning it can be amended or revoked, but it can also be irrevocable. Typically, a trust is a separately drafted legal document that is funded while the grantor is alive, but it can also be drafted in a will. This kind of trust is called a testamentary trust.
Durable Power of Attorney
This legal document gives someone else authority to manage your financial affairs. You need to be mentally competent to sign a durable power of attorney, but it will continue to be effective even if you are incapacitated in the future. A durable power of attorney is effective immediately upon signing in Florida so the authority of the appointed person cannot be conditioned on your ill health. If you’re unsure about who to appoint, talk with your attorney.
Health Care Surrogate
A health care surrogate is similar to a durable power of attorney, but it will be put into place so someone else can make health care decisions for you if you become seriously ill or mentally incapacitated.
Do Not Resuscitate Order
A do not resuscitate (DNR) order is a physician’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 if you have a respiratory or cardiac arrest. A DNR is usually only signed for someone who is seriously ill or in a vegetative state. Comfort care measures, like 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 being signed. A copy of the form can be obtained by downloading the form from this site.
If you live in Naples, Florida and feel unsure about your estate planning options, Call Prather & Swank, P.A. today. We’ll get all your documents in order so you feel secure about your future and the future of your loved ones.