Florida estate planning forms help to ensure that you properly plan for your heirs and prepare your estate for a time when you become no longer able to manage it yourself due to incapacitation or death.
Florida Estate Planning Forms: What Forms You Need to Plan Efficiently
The best way to find out what forms you might need and to make a proper plan for your estate is to work with an estate planning attorney. Your attorney will help you to go through your estate and to prepare the correct documents so that you have a legally enforceable plan in place should it be needed.
The Key Florida Estate Planning Documents
There are four key estate planning documents that your attorney will help you to go over.
Last Will and Testament
The document that you are likely most familiar with is the last will and testament. The purpose of this document is to allow you to name an executor of your estate, to designate beneficiaries to your estate assets, to name a guardian to care for your minor children and to name a trusted individual to manage property that you leave to minor children.
A last will and testament must be completed according to state regulations in order to be considered valid by the courts. If a last will and testament does not meet the necessary state requirements, it can be argued in court that your will is invalid. When this happens your last wishes may not be carried out to your specifications.
In Florida the basic specifications for creating a valid last will and testament are as follows:
- You must be aged 18 or over or be an emancipated minor in the state of Florida
- You must be considered mentally competent or able to reason and make sound decisions at the time that your will is written and signed.
- You must sign your will or have it signed by another person on your behalf while they are in your presence.
- Two competent witnesses must be present when you sign your last will and testament. These witnesses must also sign your will while in your presence and each other’s presence.
- You must formally type your will. Handwritten or spoken wills are not recognized as valid in Florida.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
A durable power of attorney for finances is a document that assigns control of your financial affairs to a designated individual should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage your finances yourself. A durable power of attorney for finances can be used in a variety of situations including the following:
- Should you become severely ill and need someone to care for your finances for you while you recover.
- Should you be hospitalized and be unable to care for your finances.
- Should you lack the mental competence to manage your finances
- Should you be deployed and have limited or no access to your finances during deployment.
A living will is a document that clearly states your wishes in regard to your medical care should you become unable to make those decisions in the future. For example, if, while undergoing surgery, there is a complication that leaves you needing life support and without that life support you would die, your living will can direct your healthcare team as to whether you wish to be kept alive on life support or not.
Essentially, your living will serves as your voice when you are unable to speak and lets your health care team know what measures they should go to when it comes to keeping you alive and saving your life.
Designation of Health Care Surrogate
A designation of health care surrogate is a document that allows you to designate a trusted individual to make health care decisions for you should you become unable to make those decisions yourself. Your health care surrogate should be made aware of your desires as far as your health care is concerned so that they can carry out your wishes when charged with decisions affecting your medical care. You should also trust that this person will make health care decisions that are in your best interest should an event arise that leaves them unsure as to what you would choose to do.
Should you be comatose and need a blood transfusion but your religious beliefs prevent you from having a blood transfusion, this may be an instance where a designation of health care surrogate can be helpful. Because you are comatose, you would be unable to tell the doctors about your inability to receive a transfusion, but your health care surrogate would be able to do this for you because they would have prior knowledge of your belief system.
Do You Need Legal Help With Your Florida Estate Planning Forms?
If you live in or around St. Pete’s, Florida and you are looking for a reputable estate planning attorney who can help you to plan your estate, Weidner Law can help! Just pick up the phone and dial 727-954-8752 to set up a consultation today!