One thing that many people don't think about when they are estate planning in Florida is the need to have someone make decisions for them if they aren't able to make those decisions on their own. Part of the reason for this is that estate planning advertisements usually focus on handing down assets when you pass away.
It isn't pleasant to think about not being able to make decisions for yourself, but taking the time to think about what you want done if this happens is important. You need to have someone named as your attorney-in-fact who can make those decisions for you in the same manner that you would make for yourself. This is done by setting up a power of attorney.
What does a power of attorney do?
A powers of attorney designation can be set up so that the attorney-in-fact can't exercise their duties until you are incapacitated. Once the powers of attorney goes into effect, the person is supposed to make decisions for you that aren't based on their own motives. They should do things that are in your best interests.
When you set up the powers of attorney, you have two areas to consider. You need a powers of attorney for health care and one for finances. The person who is the attorney-in-fact for your health care will make decisions about every aspect of your medical treatments. They are also guided by the living will or advance directives that you set up.
The person who has the financial powers of attorney is responsible for all money decisions. This can include selling or purchasing real estate, paying normal bills, handling investments, and pretty much anything you'd do on your own with your money.
Whom should you name?
The person you name for each of these doesn't have to be the same person. For each one, you have to think about who will be able to put their own feelings aside and do what you would want. You are putting your full trust into the person you choose for the financial decisions and for the medical decisions.
How do you execute a powers of attorney in Florida?
You must sign the powers of attorney in front of a notary public and two witnesses. Without making sure that you do this, there is a chance that you won't have the protection of the powers of attorney when the time comes that you need it. This, along with all other aspects of estate planning, must be handled in accordance with the law.