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Death planning an important component in Florida Estate plans

Many Floridians realize, especially as they get older, that they will not live forever. Most probably understand that they need to plan for how their worldly goods will be distributed after they are gone. It is also important, however, that one's estate plan contain some plan for disposal of one's own mortal remains.

It can be a touchy subject, death. Contemplating it for any length of time is not comfortable for most. However, laying out, in detail, the steps one wishes to have taken with their body will help take the pressure off grieving loved ones who would otherwise have to divine one's desires. Spelling out one's death plan can help avoid any family conflicts where people have differing views of what is "appropriate." Whether cremation or burial, specifying where and how one wishes to be disposed of, and if they want any specific religious ceremony or other type of event for the grieving will go a long way to easing the stress on family and friends, especially if one also leaves the means to pay for such expenses.

End-of life planning can also include incapacity planning. Documents such as a medical directive, healthcare proxy, power of attorney, and living will can help others be clear on what medical interventions are wanted and which are not. Some people prefer "do not resuscitate" orders, while others may choose to be kept living as long as possible no matter what.

The important thing is to ensure the choice is not made for them, by having the correct documents executed in a legally valid fashion so that there is little room for argument about intent. It is also important to remember to let the proper people know where they can find such documents upon one's incapacity, or give copies to them beforehand. Otherwise, no one may think to look for them until the will is read, by which time it may be too late.

Source: New York Times, "Lifting From Others the Burden of Your Own Death," John F. Wasik, May 14, 2014

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