I recently broke my crown. I'd worn the crown for a few years and it served me well. However, people noticed when I broke my crown because I was unhappy and had a pained look on my face. No, I'm not talking about the kind of crown that rests on your head---I wish I had one of those but it wasn't in the genes! The crown that I broke is of the 'dental" kind. When it broke, I learned a valuable lesson which can be applied to my estate planning law practice. Don't put things off!
As an estate planning law firm, we advise and counsel clients, and establish and implement a plans in order to protect individuals, families, and businesses in the event of illness, incapacity, disruption from the unexpected, and death. Who needs this advice, planning and protection? Simply put-everyone! Illness, incapacity, disruption from the unexpected, and death are inevitable. We all face these realities, so why not be prepared?
In a recent blog, I discussed the difference between naming consecutive or successor agents versus naming co-agents in a Durable Power of Attorney ("DPOA"). A common question we hear when naming co-agents is whether they must act together. Stated another way, if co-agents are named, can one act alone or independently without the other being present?
An essential document in any Florida estate plan should include a Durable Power of Attorney ("DPOA"). This document allows a person to designate another person or persons to act on their behalf in connection with personal, business and financial matters. A DPOA is critical in the event a person has a health crisis or becomes severely injured or incapacitated. Elderly persons particularly benefit by having a DPOA because their designated person, i.e. their agent, can act for them on matters that they can no longer do themselves. Without a DPOA, often a court-administered guardianship becomes the only alternative.
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."
The population of the United States is aging rapidly. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to increase dramatically from 46 million today to over 70 million by 2030. Known as the "baby boomers", the 65-and-older age group's share of the total population will rise from 15 percent to nearly 24 percent.
To say that a Power of Attorney ("POA") is "durable" means that the powers given in the instrument stay in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated and unable to manage his or her own affairs. When a POA in Florida is not durable, the powers cease if the principal becomes incapacitated--thereby requiring that a court-ordered guardianship be established. Most estate planning attorneys would advise to avoid guardianship if possible.
Estate planning lawyers often recommend that clients establish certain key documents. Among those are a Durable Power of Attorney ("POA"). This instrument allows a person to designate an agent to act for them in the event of incapacity.