A comprehensive estate plan contains documents that go into effect upon incapacity. This is when a serious injury or illness prevents you from making medical or financial decisions. Failing to complete these documents means that loved ones might have to go through a costly guardianship court process to obtain approval to make these decisions on your behalf.
The attorneys at Meador & Johnson, P.A., assist clients in Pensacola and throughout northwest Florida with estate planning. After meeting with you to understand your situation, we will recommend a tailored estate plan designed to meet your needs.
Usually in addition to a will, a comprehensive estate plan includes a power of attorney and health care directive. Here is more information about each.
What Is A Power Of Attorney?
A general durable power of attorney allows a person to choose an “attorney in fact” who will act as an agent to protect the individual’s property during any period of incapacity.
Broader powers are generally assigned through a durable power of attorney. This document will allow the designated attorney in fact to access bank accounts to pay bills, to gain access to insurance information to contract for care that may be required and to do any other actions required to handle the financial affairs of the incapacitated person.
What Is A Living Will?
A medical power of attorney appoints an “attorney in fact” to make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person, including end-stage decisions such as whether to remove the person from life support, withhold nutrition or remove a feeding tube.
Both durable powers of attorney become effective immediately once you sign them. A durable power of attorney is effective only as long as you are alive, but incapacitated. Once you pass away, the power ends and there is no valid authority to operate under the power of attorney. A valid durable power of attorney will avoid the need and cost of formal guardianship proceedings that may otherwise be required.
Our lawyers are compassionate allies when it comes to making these care planning discussions. Learn more today by scheduling an initial consultation by calling 850-483-0773/ toll free 800-785-4969 or sending a message online.