Richard Simmons is making headlines again, only this time it’s not because of weight loss or any fitness related videos.  Simmons disappeared from the public eye two years ago and now rumor has it that his long time housekeeper has been holding him hostage and running his life.  Due to Simmons age, some are even going as far as calling it elder abuse.  However, Simmons has told officers that he is in the right frame of mind and continues to run his own life.  Whether or not Simmons is truly being cared for or being taken advantage of may never be known but what this story does is illustrate the importance of planning while you are young, healthy and still have full mental capacity.

Incapacity documents are crucial because they determine who will be making important decisions in your life in the event you become hurt, sick or otherwise unable to make those decisions for yourself.  Such documents include the Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate and HIPAA release form.

Living Will:  An advanced directive that is sometimes called the “pull the plug” document.  If you sign this document, it will allow your healthcare surrogate to give the OK to the doctor to remove any artificial life support.  This is only after two doctors have agreed that nothing further can be done and that the artificial support is what is keeping you alive.

Durable Power of Attorney: This document will allow someone to make important financial decisions for you, allow access to accounts and continue to pay bills if you are unable to do so yourself.

Healthcare Surrogate and HIPAA release form:  Your healthcare surrogate will make informed medical decisions after reviewing your records, which the HIPAA release will allow them to do.  In the event that you are unable to authorize a surgery or make any other type of important medical decision, your healthcare surrogate will step in and do so for you.

Make the important decisions today while you still have all of your marbles.  Call the estate planning attorneys at Wild, Felice & Partners for your free consultation at (954) 944-2855.

For more information on estate planning, asset protection and probate, visit our website at

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