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Do you know the importance of having your affairs in order with vital Estate Planning documents?

Ignacio Quiñones, President of  North Star Senior Advisors interviews Stacey L. Schwartz Esq. Associate Attorney at Flammia Elder Law Firm who sheds light on Estate Planning along with other key documents when you move into a senior living community. Click here to watch the full video or see below.

Attorney Stacey Schwartz with the Flammia Elder Law Firm also explains Estate Planning documents in her blog underneath this video.

 

 

Estate Planning Documents You Need to Move Into A Facility – and What Happens If You Don’t Have Them

By: Attorney Stacey Schwartz with the Flammia Elder Law Firm

 

Estate planning encompasses different parts of your life, but it becomes especially important when considering moving into a senior living community.

It is important to prepare the below essential estate planning documents to designate who you want to make medical decisions on your behalf and who can help manage your financial affairs. With the right estate planning documents, you can make sure you are cared for in the future.

Here are the top 4 estate planning documents you should have to make sure you are taken care of while you are alive:

  1. Designation of Health Care Surrogate

A Designation of Health Care Surrogate is a written document designating a surrogate to make health care decisions on your behalf. The document may also designate an alternative surrogate if the original surrogate is unwilling or unable to perform their duties.

What happens if you do not have a Designation of Heath Care Surrogate? Under Florida Law, if an incapacitated person has not designated a health care surrogate, health care decisions may be made by individuals listed in Florida Statute § 765.401, such as your legal guardian, spouse, children, parents, etc.

By preparing a Designation of Health Care Surrogate you are able to name who you want to be in charge or your medical decisions, without letting the law choose for you.

 

  1. Living Will

A Living Will is a document that outlines your personal choices about end-of-life medical treatment if you are ever in a terminal condition, end stage condition, or persistent vegetative state and are unable to communicate your wishes. Do you want artificial nutrition? Do you want artificial hydration? The Living Will allows you to put those wishes on paper so your health care surrogate has direction of the decisions you want made, and it takes the burden off of your health care surrogate making those choices.

A Living Will is different than a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). While the Living Will addresses a host of end-of-life issues, a DNR provides instructions for medical professionals to refrain from conducting CPR in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. A DNR is a single-page form that by the Florida Department of Health that the patient’s physicians must also sign.

 

  1. HIPAA Release

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law put in place to protect privacy and access to medical records. A HIPAA Release is a document that allows an appointed person or group of persons to access your specific health information. The HIPAA release can be provided to your primary care physician and available if there is an emergency and you are in the hospital.

  1. Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a powerful legal document in which an individual, the “principal,” grants another person the power to act on their behalf. The DPOA is a living document, which means that it is only valid while an individual is alive and it dies with that person. An “agent,” or the person that the principal is giving the powers to act on their behalf, only has the specific powers listed in the DPOA.

Florida law changed in 2011 regarding DPOA’s.  In 2011, the Florida Legislature added “super powers” to DPOA’s to grant the agent powers above and beyond previous DPOAs. These super powers are important because many of the planning techniques used in Medicaid planning are super powers. This could be a huge issue down the road if Medicaid planning is necessary in the future! Not all attorneys include super powers in their DPOA’s, so it is important to speak to an elder law attorney and make sure your DPOA fully covers all the necessities.

What happens if you don’t have a DPOA and are unable to care for yourself? Your family will likely need to obtain a guardianship (as explained below) to manage your financial affairs.

 

What happens if I don’t have these estate planning documents?

If your family does not have the necessary documents to care for you while you are alive, it might be necessary that they obtain a guardianship over you. Guardianship of an adult is the legal process where the court finds an individual’s ability to make decisions so impaired that the court gives the right to make those decisions to another person, the guardian. In determining whether an individual has the ability to make decisions, the court employs a team of professionals, known as an “examining committee,” to determine that individual’s capacity and report their findings to the court.

A very important aspect of guardianship is that it is only warranted when there is no less restrictive alternative – such as a health care surrogate or durable power of attorney naming someone to act on the individual’s behalf. If there are least restrictive alternatives to guardianship, the court shall take that approach.

If you are concerned about guardianship in the future, the best thing to do now is to make sure you have the right estate planning in order! Your future, your way.

If you want to start preparing your advanced directives or are interested in more information, please contact the Flammia Elder Law Firm at (407) 478-8700 – we can help!

 

Written by: Attorney Stacey Schwartz with the Flammia Elder Law Firm

 

Veteran-owned and operated, North Star Senior Advisors provides free expert guidance to families and seniors looking to find senior living in the greater Central Florida community and growing. Assisted Living communities in Florida and retirement communities in Orlando are numerous, and the task of finding your loved one the ideal new home environment can be stressful. With our guided path to senior living, we will locate communities to meet your needs and expectations at no charge while eliminating the stress of searching multiple communities on your own. All Senior Advisors are Certified Dementia Practitioners with nurses on staff to help discover the right home away from home for you or your loved one.

 

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By Published On: June 4, 2021Categories: Elder Care, Elder Care Resources, Elderly, Uncategorized
estate-planning-attorney-north-star-senior-advisors

Share this article on social media!

Do you know the importance of having your affairs in order with vital Estate Planning documents?

Ignacio Quiñones, President of  North Star Senior Advisors interviews Stacey L. Schwartz Esq. Associate Attorney at Flammia Elder Law Firm who sheds light on Estate Planning along with other key documents when you move into a senior living community. Click here to watch the full video or see below.

Attorney Stacey Schwartz with the Flammia Elder Law Firm also explains Estate Planning documents in her blog underneath this video.

 

 

Estate Planning Documents You Need to Move Into A Facility – and What Happens If You Don’t Have Them

By: Attorney Stacey Schwartz with the Flammia Elder Law Firm

 

Estate planning encompasses different parts of your life, but it becomes especially important when considering moving into a senior living community.

It is important to prepare the below essential estate planning documents to designate who you want to make medical decisions on your behalf and who can help manage your financial affairs. With the right estate planning documents, you can make sure you are cared for in the future.

Here are the top 4 estate planning documents you should have to make sure you are taken care of while you are alive:

  1. Designation of Health Care Surrogate

A Designation of Health Care Surrogate is a written document designating a surrogate to make health care decisions on your behalf. The document may also designate an alternative surrogate if the original surrogate is unwilling or unable to perform their duties.

What happens if you do not have a Designation of Heath Care Surrogate? Under Florida Law, if an incapacitated person has not designated a health care surrogate, health care decisions may be made by individuals listed in Florida Statute § 765.401, such as your legal guardian, spouse, children, parents, etc.

By preparing a Designation of Health Care Surrogate you are able to name who you want to be in charge or your medical decisions, without letting the law choose for you.

 

  1. Living Will

A Living Will is a document that outlines your personal choices about end-of-life medical treatment if you are ever in a terminal condition, end stage condition, or persistent vegetative state and are unable to communicate your wishes. Do you want artificial nutrition? Do you want artificial hydration? The Living Will allows you to put those wishes on paper so your health care surrogate has direction of the decisions you want made, and it takes the burden off of your health care surrogate making those choices.

A Living Will is different than a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). While the Living Will addresses a host of end-of-life issues, a DNR provides instructions for medical professionals to refrain from conducting CPR in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. A DNR is a single-page form that by the Florida Department of Health that the patient’s physicians must also sign.

 

  1. HIPAA Release

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law put in place to protect privacy and access to medical records. A HIPAA Release is a document that allows an appointed person or group of persons to access your specific health information. The HIPAA release can be provided to your primary care physician and available if there is an emergency and you are in the hospital.

  1. Durable Power of Attorney

A Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is a powerful legal document in which an individual, the “principal,” grants another person the power to act on their behalf. The DPOA is a living document, which means that it is only valid while an individual is alive and it dies with that person. An “agent,” or the person that the principal is giving the powers to act on their behalf, only has the specific powers listed in the DPOA.

Florida law changed in 2011 regarding DPOA’s.  In 2011, the Florida Legislature added “super powers” to DPOA’s to grant the agent powers above and beyond previous DPOAs. These super powers are important because many of the planning techniques used in Medicaid planning are super powers. This could be a huge issue down the road if Medicaid planning is necessary in the future! Not all attorneys include super powers in their DPOA’s, so it is important to speak to an elder law attorney and make sure your DPOA fully covers all the necessities.

What happens if you don’t have a DPOA and are unable to care for yourself? Your family will likely need to obtain a guardianship (as explained below) to manage your financial affairs.

 

What happens if I don’t have these estate planning documents?

If your family does not have the necessary documents to care for you while you are alive, it might be necessary that they obtain a guardianship over you. Guardianship of an adult is the legal process where the court finds an individual’s ability to make decisions so impaired that the court gives the right to make those decisions to another person, the guardian. In determining whether an individual has the ability to make decisions, the court employs a team of professionals, known as an “examining committee,” to determine that individual’s capacity and report their findings to the court.

A very important aspect of guardianship is that it is only warranted when there is no less restrictive alternative – such as a health care surrogate or durable power of attorney naming someone to act on the individual’s behalf. If there are least restrictive alternatives to guardianship, the court shall take that approach.

If you are concerned about guardianship in the future, the best thing to do now is to make sure you have the right estate planning in order! Your future, your way.

If you want to start preparing your advanced directives or are interested in more information, please contact the Flammia Elder Law Firm at (407) 478-8700 – we can help!

 

Written by: Attorney Stacey Schwartz with the Flammia Elder Law Firm

 

Veteran-owned and operated, North Star Senior Advisors provides free expert guidance to families and seniors looking to find senior living in the greater Central Florida community and growing. Assisted Living communities in Florida and retirement communities in Orlando are numerous, and the task of finding your loved one the ideal new home environment can be stressful. With our guided path to senior living, we will locate communities to meet your needs and expectations at no charge while eliminating the stress of searching multiple communities on your own. All Senior Advisors are Certified Dementia Practitioners with nurses on staff to help discover the right home away from home for you or your loved one.

 

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Guest Blogger