When meeting with estate planning clients, I often start by asking a simple question: "What matters most to you?" Without fail, the answer I get most often is "My family and my loved ones." This simple question and answer goes right to the heart of what we do as estate planning lawyers. We help people plan and prepare to assist their family and loved ones in the event of illness, incapacity, or death.
Like many professions, lawyers tend to concentrate their practices on certain areas. There are lawyers who practice in almost every imaginable topic. One popular lawyer website lists over 235 areas of the law in which lawyers concentrate their practice. This is in contrast to a general legal practitioner who does a little bit of everything. As the old adage says, a general practitioner is a "jack of all trades but master of none."
If you've ever been a patient at a hospital or any other medical facility, you've probably been asked this question: "Do you have a Living Will?" So what is this document? A Living Will is a document which allows you to declare your desires in the event of an "end-of-life" situation such as a terminal illness, an end-stage condition, or a permanent vegetative state. In making this declaration, here is some typical language contained in a Florida Living Will:
In the estate planning law practice, we often see clients and prospective clients who mean well and intend to get their estate documents in order. Unfortunately, all too often the intentions do not amount to "follow-through" and the price can be significant. This is especially true in the case of a crisis such as incapacity, incompetence or death.
When moving state-to-state, whether to or from Florida, it is advisable to have your estate documents reviewed by an estate planning attorney.
As estate lawyers, we often see clients who use the terms DNR ("Do Not Resuscitate") and Living Will almost interchangeably. However, in Florida, they are different in many ways.