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Necessary estate planning documents

Florida individuals who have put off creating an estate plan because they think that this is only a matter for older individuals to tend to may be mistaken in this belief. In fact, estate planning can address more than just what happens upon a person's death.

Certain estate planning documents deal with medical situations. For example, a living will allows a person to make certain decisions about end-of-life care, such as orders regarding hydration, nutrition and life-sustaining treatment. A health care power of attorney gives one person the legal right to make medical decisions on behalf of another person. A durable power of attorney allows a person to give his or her agent the right to make financial decisions on his or her behalf even if the person becomes incapacitated.

Additionally, estate plans are necessary in order to communicate a person's preferences. In the absence of a basic will, state intestacy laws will govern who receives a decedent's property, which may not be in accord with what the person would have wanted. In addition, a will also gives a person an opportunity to determine who should have guardianship over his or her children. Wills can also include specific clauses that are applicable to new technology, such as a provision that deals with digital assets and information.

Individuals who would like to discuss their end-of-life care and other financial arrangements may decide to consult with an estate planning attorney. As every person's familial circumstances are different, the types of documents and arrangements that are necessary or desirable will vary. The attorney can help suggest and draft estate planning documents that are tailored to a client's situation.

Source: MSN, "Estate-planning documents you need right now", April 18, 2014

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