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Estate planning focus: Incapacitation, death

It is understandably difficult for people in Florida to keep up with certain tasks such as creating an estate plan in their busy lives. However, estate planning ideally should be the top priority of any adult. A few things are important to consider when putting together this type of plan.

First, it makes good sense to think about what would happen in the case of disability. In addressing this potential situation, assigning someone to act act as power of attorney is important. This individual can assume the responsibility of managing an incapacitated person's estate under designated circumstances. The person granting the power can still be the trustee and designate backup trustees to take over when circumstances warrant. Without a power of attorney, family members would need to seek formal over the incapacitated individual by petitioning a court, which can be a difficult and expensive process.

It is also critical that one's wishes are made in writing. Living wills can help by listing specific preferences in situations of terminal illness. It is also helpful to discuss estate plans with one's children and to take time to review and update a plan at regular intervals, at least every few years.

Although most people naturally prefer to avoid thinking about becoming disabled or dying, both are real possibilities. Through estate planning, wishes can be detailed so that one's needs and desires are addressed accordingly if and when the unexpected happens. A well-constructed Florida estate plan also helps to prevent squabbles and confusion among loved ones during already emotionally difficult scenarios involving incapacitation or death.

Source:, "3 questions regarding your estate plan", Rich Dunn, Sept. 19, 2016

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