For every 60 minutes you spend making money, spend 60 seconds thinking about how to protect it!
Boca Raton, Florida (PRWEB) August 18, 2016
Its hard to think about, but everyone becomes incapacitated at some point in life. It is important to proactively plan for such devastating event. Planning will make it easier for loved ones to act in a manner that is consistent with true intentions. Absent such instructions dictated in the form of an “estate plan,” the court may have to become involved and make decisions. This can become costly and burdensome on already grief-stricken family. Hillel L. Presser, Esq., MBA of The Presser Law Firm, P.A., Asset Protection Attorneys, offers the following advice on preparing for incapacity
1. Estate Planning Defined
We can define estate planning as the managing and passing of your assets through the preparation of documents and re-titling of assets. The process of linking asset protection with estate planning is called integrated estate planning and they work together to form a comprehensive plan. Having one without the other is incomplete. Every person should have an estate plan so that they can control who gets their assets at death. In addition, the estate plan covers an individual should he or she become incapacitated.
2. Making Sure that Incapacity Planning Documents have been Prepared and Executed with Proper Formalities
Incapacity planning documents are just as they sound, documents to prepare for the event when you do not have the capacity to make your own decisions. Incapacity planning documents consist of a health care directive (for health-related decisions), living will (designation of which life prolonging measures can be undertaken) and a durable power of attorney (for financial-related decisions). In Florida, these documents need to be witnessed by two individuals who are at least 18 years of age or older and must be signed in front of a notary. Further, the settlor, witnesses and notary must be in the same room during the signing. Absent such formalities, your incapacity planning documents may not be legally operative.
3. Tips for Executing the Health Care Directive and the Living Will
The health care directive or health care surrogate document names surrogates who will act on your behalf with regard to your health-related decisions in the event that you become incapacitated. It is important to choose surrogates who you trust with your health-related decisions. The initial surrogate is generally your spouse with your children to follow. In other cases, close family members are designated. When you are in doubt, you can always choose co-surrogates who will make decisions together by majority or unanimous vote. The living will states which life prolonging measures you allow your surrogates to take in the event that you are in a vegetative state, terminal condition or end-stage condition. This is also known as the “pull the plug doctrine.”
4. Tips for Executing the Durable Power of Attorney
The durable power of attorney is a legal document that names a person or person(s), also known as an agent, to handle financial matters for you. “Durable” means that the document withstands incapacity. Some states allow you to have a “springing durable power of attorney,” which springs into effect only in the event that a physician signs off on your incapacity; however, Florida recently changed its law and does not allow springing powers of attorney unless it is for medical purposes. Therefore, it is very important to choose durable power of attorney agents who you trust with your money. The initial power holder is generally your spouse with your children to follow. In other cases, close family members are designated. When you are in doubt, you can always choose co-power holders who will make decisions together by majority or unanimous vote.
5. Correcting Estate Planning Documents which weren’t Executed Properly or that need to be Modified
If you believe that your estate planning documents weren’t executed properly, your best option is to re-execute such documents. The same should be done if you need to change your power holders or health care surrogates, for any reason. The prior originals must then be destroyed so that they aren’t accidentally found.
The Presser Law Firm P.A., Asset Protection Attorneys, represents individuals and businesses in connection with the establishment of comprehensive Asset Protection plans that incorporate both domestic and international components.
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“For every 60 minutes you spend making money, spend 60 seconds thinking about how to protect it!” states attorney Hillel L. Presser, Esq., MBA regarding the importance of protecting your assets proactively.