When working with clients to set up their estate planning documents, we often tell them that some of the most important decision-making involves deciding the “Who.” Typical estate planning documents include the following:
Revocable or Living Trust
Last Will and Testament
Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Declaration of Living Will
Durable Power of Attorney
If you are setting up each of these instruments, you must make some important decisions involving who you will name to act in various roles. For example, in the Last Will and Testament, if you are a parent on a minor child, then you will need to name who will act as guardian of your child. In the Living Trust, you must name who will oversee the Trust once you are deceased. In the Trust, you must also name who will be the beneficiaries to receive distribution from your Trust. In the Power of Attorney for Healthcare and the Living Will, you must name who will make healthcare decisions and who will state your end of life wishes. In the Durable Power of Attorney, you decide who will handle financial and personal matters for you in the event of incapacity.
The important thing to understand with estate planning is that these instruments allow you to make the important “who” decisions. You get to name who will act and speak on your behalf. You get to decide who receives your assets and who will oversee settling your estate. You get to decide important matters involving your children. If you do not decide, then Florida law, implemented by a court, will decide these for you.