March Madness is in full effect and many of us are beginning to realize that our brackets were less than impressive and our predictions were flat out wrong.  The participants with the most successful brackets tend to be the individuals who are the most prepared – they know the players, the stats and use this knowledge to prepare ahead of time.  Estate planning is a lot like March Madness; preparation will lead to a favorable outcome.  Though they are many vehicles used in estate planning, we recommend that everyone consider the following seven documents when planning for their future:

Revocable Living Trust:  The Revocable Living Trust tends the be the most favorable estate planning tool.  Florida’s probate system is among the most time consuming and expensive in our Country and this planning device offers a way to avoid the process.  In addition to probate avoidance, the living trust allows the Grantor to amend as many times as they wish during their lifetime or they may revoke the trust all together.  This estate planning tool also allows the Grantor to remain in control of their assets from beyond the grave since their Trust will dictate who will receive what and how they will receive it.  You can place restrictions on when children receive their share, for instance, ensuring that they first reach an age of majority or graduate from college.

Assignment of Property:  The Trust will be useless until it is funded.  This funding document will ensure that all personal tangible property makes its way into the trust and to your beneficiaries.

Last Will and Testament:  The Last Will and Testament will mirror the but with less detail since it becomes public upon death.  In this important document you will appoint minors on behalf of your children, nominate a personal representative on behalf of your estate and specify your wishes regarding cremation or burial.

Living Will:  This advanced directive, if signed, will allow the Healthcare surrogate to authorize the doctor to “pull the plug” if you are being kept alive solely by artificial means.

Durable Power of Attorney:  Incapacity document that controls during your life and is terminated upon your death.  The power of attorney makes important financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so yourself.

Healthcare Surrogate:  Another incapacity document that will remain effective during your life.  The healthcare surrogate will make important healthcare decisions if you are unable to do so yourself, such as authorizing surgery or authorizing administration of medication.

HIPAA Release:  This important release will allow your healthcare surrogate access to medical records to make informed medical decisions.

Call the South Florida Office of Wild, Felice & Partners today at (954) 944-2855 for your free consultation and allow our attorneys to provide you with ultimate peace of mind.

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It’s A Wild World.  Are You Protected? SM