Estate planning is not only for the elderly or the wealthy; it is for anyone who wishes to make his or her choices legally effective. Our estate planning attorneys can handle the legalities of wills, trusts, and probate in Orlando. We have been serving Floridians since 1979, and we are confident in our abilities to secure a just outcome for you.
Do you need an Estate Planning Attorney in Orlando?
Before deciding to represent yourself, consider: can you answer the following questions with 100 percent certainty?
- Who will make your health care decisions if you are unable to make them?
- Who will sign legal documents for you if you are ill, incompetent, or unable?
- Will your doctors follow your wishes regarding end-of-life care?
- Who will be granted custody of your minor children?
- Who will receive your assets when you die?
Estate planning is one way to remove any uncertainty in your answers. By thinking ahead, you can avoid any complications if you are unable to make decisions on your own or pass away.
We Can Help You Draft and File these Documents
Through a series of documents, you will ensure that your wishes are memorialized in a legally sufficient and binding way. We can help you with the following:
Your Last Will and Testament
This document memorializes your decisions regarding how your assets will be distributed after your death. By having a last will and testament in place, you can prevent your assets from going to probate, which could delay how long it takes for your beneficiaries to receive their dues.
A Living Will and Designation of Health Care Surrogate
A living will is a legal document that a person uses to make known his/her wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatments if they develop a terminal condition. It can also be referred to as an “advance directive,” “health care directive,” or a “physician’s directive.”
For situations where you are incapacitated but are not suffering from a terminal illness or injury, you should have a “health care power of attorney” (also known as a “health care proxy” or “designation of health care surrogate”). Through this document, you give someone else the authority to make health care decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated.
A living will and a designation of health care surrogate may be combined into a single document. A living will should not be confused with a living trust, which is a mechanism for holding and distributing a person’s assets after their death.
Declaration of Preneed Guardian
Florida Statutes §744.3046 says that you can designate a guardian for your children if you pass away or are otherwise unable to care for them. You can also “nominate” an alternative if your first choice doesn’t work out. This also allows you to grant assets to another party.
Medical Records Privacy Waiver
Your medical history is strictly between you and your health care providers. However, if you have this form in place, you could grant another party the ability to view your medical records. For instance, if you are involved in a car crash, this waiver would grant your attorney access to your medical history.
We can help You Determine Power of Attorney
As a part of responsible estate planning, there may be a time when it is useful for you to designate someone to act on your behalf. A power of attorney is a legal document in which one person (the “principal”) authorizes another (the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to do so. Power of attorney may be one element described in a person’s living will.
Power of attorney may be of limited or unlimited duration and scope.
Limited Power of Attorney only has Certain Rights and Obligations
A limited power of attorney permits the named agent to act on behalf of the signer for a specific purpose only and, generally, during a specific span of time. The named agent cannot sign documents or perform acts other than the named one(s), nor can the agent perform these acts at any time after the expiration of any specified period.
Unlimited Power of Attorney has no Restrictions
Unlimited power of attorney does not contain any restrictions as to the scope or duration. Excluding restrictions is beneficial in an estate planning context where the principal cannot anticipate all the situations in which he/she may need the agent to act in the future.
If the unlimited power of attorney includes appropriate language regarding the subsequent incapacity of the principal, the power of attorney is said to be “durable,” and the authorization is still effective even though the principal subsequently loses physical or mental capacity.
We can sort out Your Life Insurance Plans and Issues
What would seem to be a simple process at a critical time is complicated when life insurance is provided through an employer. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) governs the procedures involved with a denial of life insurance benefits.
Those making claims are required to “exhaust administrative remedies” by completing a review or appeal of any claim denial prior to filing suit to obtain benefits. It is critical to present all evidence to support a death benefits claim during the appeals process.
Court rulings have prohibited consideration of evidence in support of a claim that was not presented to the review entity designated by the plan.
We can Navigate Your Case’s Life Insurance Issues
We can help you with the following issues:
- Denials based on pre-existing conditions at the time of basic coverage enrollment (typically, supplemental coverage during open enrollment has less stringent criteria for coverage or eliminates pre-existing conditions)
- Interpretation of exclusions or limitations based on whether death resulted from accident or illness, or intentional conduct
- Changes in coverage due to the employer transferring life benefits to a new insurance company
- Determining whether one was disabled and entitled to a waiver of premiums as a result of the disability
- Simple negligence where an employer failed to turn in supplemental coverage election forms or failed to pay premiums
Connect with Bogin, Munns & Munns Today
It is better to start the estate planning process when you are cognitively able. When you are suffering from a terminal illness or unexpectedly lose your mental capacities, you should have a clear plan of action so that everyone––including you and your loved ones––knows what to expect.
To connect with an estate planning attorney in Orlando, call Bogin, Munns & Munns.