What Documents Do I Need for Estate Planning?

Have questions about estate planning? Keep reading to learn how an elder law attorney can help you make a will and other legal documents to protect you and your family. While we understand our clients don’t like to confront their own mortality, it’s important to make your estate plan while you are of sound mind. Many of the documents you’ll create with your estate planning attorney will also protect you in the event you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for your own finances & health care.

How to Start Estate Planning

Your first step should be to hire an experienced estate attorney. Their knowledge of elder law will help you create legal documents that will stand up in court. For example, an attorney can help you avoid inconsistencies or loopholes that could lead family members to challenge your last will and testament.

Estate planning doesn’t have to be morbid, boring, or tedious. If you’re working with an estate lawyer, you’ll feel peace of mind that you’re doing everything in your power to protect your assets and your loved ones. During the estate planning process, you’ll have to work with a few different documents, which are described in more detail below.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney is an estate planning tool that protects your family in the event you are incapacitated. That way, if you are unable to control your own finances or other assets, the power of attorney gives someone you trust the right to handle these items as well as other legal matters in your stead. Drafting a power of attorney document is a legal process that should always be performed in the presence of your lawyer. Keep in mind that you can appoint one person to be your power of attorney, or split the responsibilities between two people.

Medical Power of Attorney

If you decide to split the power of attorney responsibilities between two people, you’ll need a medical power of attorney in addition to a financial one. A medical power of attorney is responsible for making health care decisions if you are unable to do so yourself. For example, the person you appoint would be responsible for determining end-of-life care, when to end life support, and other important decisions. We recommend you write an advance directive with your elder care attorney so your family knows your final wishes.

Last Will and Testament

The will is a legal document that dictates who receives your assets, whether they’re in the form of money or items, following your death. Your legal will can distribute tangible property and money to family, friends, organizations, or even strangers. Since wills can have some caveats that prevent your wishes from being carried out, it’s important to draft this document with an attorney experienced in writing a will.

Our Florida estate planning attorneys at Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano are dedicated to helping you prepare for the future through asset protection, Medicaid plans, and more. To schedule your free consultation, give our offices in Naples, Fort Myers, or Cape Coral a call.

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