Many people have older parents who have moved to Florida. Because it is a destination for so many retirees, the state is often the venue for people who need to create, change or update their wills. As people get older, they often have less confidence in their ability to do complex tasks, and less patience for dealing with them. As a result, it is often the case that elderly people ask their adult children or grandchildren to aid them in such situations. The updating of a will as part of an estate plan is one such task, but there are pitfalls for potential heirs who become involved in the actual estate planning process.
Perhaps you have a family member, loved one or friend who has recently passed away. When you look through their things, you find their will. While reading it, you find (hopefully, not to your surprise), that you have been named the executor of the estate. You are, of course, honored that you are trusted enough to be given such a responsibility, but then your thoughts turn to what, exactly, this means. What do you have to do? What are your duties, and where can you find help?
Having a medically incapacitated loved one is often a heart-breaking situation. Along with the grief that goes with the loss, there can be the additional stress of when to decide that life-prolonging procedures have become too invasive, especially if someone has been designated as the person's healthcare surrogate. Of course, if the incapacitated person has properly executed an advance medical directive, sometimes called a "living will," as part of a comprehensive estate plan, the decision can be a bit easier, as the person, hopefully, has made their wishes known in that document.
We have discussed the use of trusts several times previously in this space, including the reasons that someone might want to include a trust as part of his or her comprehensive estate plan. But, how does one go about creating a trust in Florida? After all, having a trust is only useful if it can be legally enforced. There are a few requirements set out in Florida law with regard to trust creation.