Estate planning not only includes actions to be taken after a person’s death, but it also spells out actions to be taken for an individual’s medical care in the event they cannot speak for themselves.
There are different types of wills that individuals can have drafted in Florida to direct the actions they wish to have undertaken regarding their estate at the time of their death. A Last Will and Testament is important for the purposes of explaining where and how an individual would like their assets divided, debts resolved and end of life issues outlined because they are very personal matters. Jacksonville estate planning lawyers guide clients to make sure a will contains the legally necessary language so a person’s wishes can be honored at the time of their death according to Florida and federal laws.
Common types of wills
- Simple will is the most basic type of will where the testator (maker of the will) documents his or her assets, names the beneficiaries, and appoints a personal representative (often referred to as an executor) to handle the probate process.
- Pour Over Will is used when there is a revocable trust and instead of making the distributions to a single beneficiary, or beneficiaries, the will generally makes one distribution into the Trust. This type of will requires all the other key provisions mentioned, but it essentially transfers the duty to distribute the estate assets to the trustee of the trust.
- Medicaid Will be used to create a supplemental trust fund to allow a spouse who is receiving Medicaid benefits for long-term medical care to continue eligibility after the other spouse dies.
- Will With Testamentary Trust is a last will and testament that adds a trust fund for children or other beneficiaries, creating a trust that becomes effective upon the death of the testator.
No matter what types of wills are in Florida are made, consultation with an estate planning lawyer is beneficial as the documents must meet the guidelines as stated in Florida law, which include the following:
- The will must be in writing; an oral will is not acceptable.
- The testator must sign the will at the end of the document in the presence of two witnesses.
- The two witnesses must also sign the document after the testator has signed it.
- The witnesses must be of sound mind and know that a will is being attested.
Estate planning not only includes actions to be taken after a person’s death, but it also spells out actions to be taken for an individual’s medical care in the event they cannot speak for themselves. Florida estate planning lawyers can help with the completion of these very important documents to make sure common scenarios are spelled out in the living will.
A Living Will addresses common end-of-life care decisions including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), mechanical ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, antibiotic and antiviral therapies, comfort care and donations of organs, tissues, or whole body for scientific study. Consultation with a lawyer is important to understand the distinction between “Do not resuscitate/intubate” and a formal will.
Hire legal counsel
In addition to the services provided by an estate planning lawyer, clients may benefit from meeting with a tax attorney who can apprise of any tax issues falling on beneficiaries when a will has been fully executed.