Planning for Incapacity

We don’t expect it to happen, but there are times when we are no longer able to handle our own financial affairs.

Many people believe their spouse or adult children can take over one’s finances.  Unfortunately, the laws in Florida do not automatically allow another person to go into your bank account, pay your bills, sell your property, or transfer your assets to your spouse or children.  A court proceeding may be necessary to appoint someone as the responsible party over your finances.  The process of guardianship takes time, involves a hefty price, and causes undue stress to your family members.  Additionally, someone you do not know or trust could be the person designated by the court to take care of you.

Designating someone to handle your affairs while you still have the capacity to make that decision is a crucial step in properly creating a method for your family to take care of you.  Appointing someone you trust to make decisions regarding your finances and your medical treatment should you become incapacitated is part of setting up your estate plan.

Living Will:

Often Last will and testaments and living wills are confused with each other. They are not the same thing. What is a living will? A living will is a document that gives you the power to decide what happens to you and who makes the decisions in the circumstance that you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself. What circumstance might that be? For instance, let’s say you get into a bad car accident, and you end up on some form of life prolonging treatment (life support), or in a coma (vegetated state). With a living will you have already made certain decisions for people to follow on your behalf, and exactly who the decision maker will be. Often in those heart wrenching moments so much time is lost to confusion and arguments amongst loved ones over what decision should be made and who should be the one to make them. By designating those guidelines early, you can save your loved ones a lot of stress and heartache and designate your wishes in the circumstance that you are no longer able to make them known yourself.

An unfortunate, but possible circumstance. Let’s say a woman is pregnant but ends up in a car accident. She is now receiving care; the doctors have to decide, do they save the baby or the woman. What are her wishes, who should make this decision on her behalf? A living will would provide for a way to express your wishes to doctors and loved ones as to how you would wish for them to proceed.

This is only but one, example of many others that could arise where a living will would become an essential tool to ensuring that your loved ones are not left with having to make a decision wondering is it what they would have wanted.

  • Can be very specific as to what criteria must be met before application
  • Can designate what you would consider as a life prolonging circumstance to ensure that there is no confusion
  • If you have a primary physician a copy should be reserved for their review, and kept up to date should any changes be made along with copies for your family members as well.
  • Wishes should be openly discussed with family members
  • Can be revoked or changed at any time during your lifetime.

Contact Fighter Law and our experienced attorneys today to answer any questions you may have on this or estate planning.

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