Why You Need a Will or a Power of Attorney

We have many clients that will come to us when a loved one has taken ill, or sadly can no longer manage their own affairs. Sometimes, clients come to us after a loved one has passed away without a will, and there is now a fight among the family about how property should be divided, or even what to do with the loved one. In most of these instances, a lawyer is limited in what they can do if a will or a power of attorney was not created by the loved one you are trying to protect. Therefore, having these documents are critical not only for yourself, but for your family.

A will is simply a document that sets forth your desires as to how you want your property to be distributed upon your death, and your desires about other details related to your death (i.e. funeral). Wills can be extremely simple, or incredibly complex. A will can designate not only who your property will go to but in what manner, and can even designate who the guardian of your children will be upon your death. I have had many younger clients come to me that do not have much property, but have young children. They often ask “Do I really need a will?” The answer is always “Yes!”

Regardless of how much property you have, a will makes sure it is disbursed as you see fit, and that your surviving family is taken care of the way you want. There is no better way to protect your family then to make sure this decision is legally handled so that the protection is there.

There are two main powers of attorney in Florida: a health care power of attorney and a durable power of attorney. A health care power of attorney, like its title, deals with giving a person the ability to make health care decisions for you if you cannot do so yourself. A durable power of attorney is more of a general power of attorney, but primarily deals with financial affairs. Both of these powers of attorney are must-haves. Powers of attorney are used not only in banks and credit institutions, but in hospitals, and nursing homes. Therefore, these are critical to have as part of your overall estate documents.

If you do not have a will or power of attorney already, please don’t wait until it is too late.