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Guardianships & Conservatorships Archives

Responsibilities when a loved one is incapacitated

When a loved one in Florida gives someone power of attorney or names that person as successor trustee to a revocable trust, that person may not fully understand what is expected of him or her in that role. If the loved one dies suddenly, the duties may be limited. However, if the loved one becomes incapacitated, the person appointed trustee or given power of attorney may be faced with a great deal of responsibility.

Health care directive speaks for a patient who is incapacitated

Protecting assets for one's beneficiaries is only one part of estate planning. Some decisions made during the planning process can benefit the estate holder before the end of his or her life. For example, having a health care directive is one way to protect one's wishes at a crucial time in life -- when a person is incapacitated and unable to speak. While many people in Florida may not like the idea of putting thought and planning into those potentially painful moments in life, doing so ahead of time may save them and their loved ones needless suffering and grief.

If a loved one is incapacitated, many do not know what to do

According to most studies, few people have put serious consideration into plans for the end of their lives. These decisions include not only who will receive their assets but what steps will be taken should they become incapacitated and unable to speak for themselves. In Florida, many may assume that their loved ones know what they will want or not want to happen in such cases. However, their assumptions may be very wrong.

Durable power of attorney replaces need for guardianship

Between one and two million elderly people are under guardianship in Florida and across the country. This means the courts have ordered protection for them because they have been judged unable to care for themselves. Sometimes guardianships are pursued by an unscrupulous relative or acquaintance who is taking advantage of the situation because the elderly person did not have the protection of a durable power of attorney. Since guardianships are often based on an elderly person's incapacity to make decisions or care for him or herself, they are frequently difficult to escape.

Agent for incapacitated person needs verification before acting

In Florida, if a person's loved one has prepared a durable power of attorney document, it is because he or she intended the person named to act on his or her behalf if the need should arise. Whether the power of attorney is granted for medical decisions, financial administration or both, the agent of that power carries a lot of responsibility. There are certain criteria, however, that must be satisfied after a person becomes incapacitated before a power of attorney can take effect.

A durable power of attorney offers several benefits

People often think a durable power of attorney is important only for an elderly person. In reality, the durable power of attorney is critical for all individuals in Florida and other states. In this document, a person can appoint someone to make decisions for him or her in the event he or she is incapacitated.

Living trust offers multiple advantages

Many Floridians want to create estate plans that will lessen the likelihood of family conflicts. Avoiding probate is especially appealing to many individuals, as the long and costly process of it can amount to about 6 percent of a deceased person's estate in Florida. A living trust is an alternative that offers important benefits.

Thorough estate planning includes creating a power of attorney

An important part of an estate plan is the power of attorney. This estate planning document can be helpful should a person become incapacitated, as it gives another reliable person the authority to make important decisions concerning the incapacitated person's behalf. Both a medical power of attorney and a durable power of attorney are essential parts of an estate plan in Florida.

Estate planning may reduce need for court decisions in Florida

When a Florida resident becomes incapacitated, it is likely that person is unable to make and/or carry out decisions on his or her own. If an individual needs outside assistance making decisions, it is possible that a guardian will be appointed. In some cases, a guardian may be appointed by a court to make health and personal-related decisions for the incapacitated individual, but estate planning may negate the need for a court appointment. 

Florida residents may be assisted by durable power of attorney

At any point during a Florida resident's life, he or she could become incapacitated. Illnesses or serious injuries could lead to an individual being unable to make necessary life decisions on his or her own. If an illness or injury should occur, a properly prepared estate plan could come in handy. Having appointed a durable power of attorney to make decisions on an individual's behalf could make a considerable difference for an incapacitated individual. 

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